My name is Mauzer, and I am the property of M'Lady Sarah. There was a time that I took that phrase for granted. They were just words. Then I found myself in love with M'Lady, and the word came to mean that to me. Then things happened that I no longer take M'Lady's love, or her ownership, for granted. Not anymore. I was hesitant to write this in my diary, because if it all went badly I didn't want the evidence to be used against me in court. As things ended up, I almost wish it could end up that well.
After visiting Master Louis I had hatched a plan with M'Lady. We were going to hurt him in the wallet by releasing packets on the 'net with the theory they would hit in the IRS and they would take action. Louis has money, but I didn't imagine that a redneck like him would know how to use it. The packets never made it out of the local backbone. They were destroyed before they could make it out, hunted by a ferret program. I was impressed, and normally I would have let it go at that. M'Lady said that we tried, and that was that. She was willing to move on.
But, sometimes, I just can't let go.
When I was back in the military, we had a joke. "When you go bear hunting, sometimes you get to eat the bear. But sometimes, the bear gets to eat you." We would joke that some of our dangerous missions were "bear hunts". And if someone didn't make it, they got "eaten by a bear." It helped us cope, sometimes. It let us get a laugh at what should have made us scream. I mention this because, in order for any of what I need to say to make any amount of sense I need to set it all up. And I need to go back, way far back. Further than I've ever wanted to talk about before.
After I got sick and went to the vet M'Lady and I talked a lot about my past. It was freeing, actually. She didn't understand it all, but she accepted it as my past, and really encouraged me to move on, forward. It was one of those nights that I realized I loved her with all my heart and soul. She could accept me, even after what I'd done. I had a fear in my heart that when the time came, I wouldn't be able to return the favor.
A few nights later she gave me a night off. She has a client that, in her words "doesn't like cats." So instead of me ruining her scene by risking being home, I just go out. M'Lady gave me a leather collar to wear while I'm out that's more plain. She understands a little about what I go through, but she knows I like the reminder of her collar. So when I go out I wear a black leather collar with a Trauma ID tag on it, and "Mauzer" on the other side. It also has an ID transceiver in it with all my medical information in it.
Well, I decided to do uptown that night. There was a club I wanted to get into that had a live band. I was dressed for a night out, my faded denim jacket and jeans, my specially made sneakers, and no shirt. It's hard to buy clothing off the rack, an open tail hole in the seat of baggy jeans just isn't a fashion statement for the masses. So I get it all made for me with the money I make from my net design job. The shoes were interesting to have made too, as they had to work around my claws plus my walk. But, they feel almost as good as bare paws, so they were worth the enormous price tag attached to them.
I was in line for the club, minding my own business for the most part. I was flirting with a girl down the way when I heard someone say "HAY POOOSIE-CAT!" behind me. I just closed my eyes, knowing full well it was someone baiting me. I wasn't going to give him the pleasure of a fight. That's when I head a click. I knew the sound of a switchblade when I heard it. "POOSIE cat have some cash for me?"
Now he had my attention. I turned to my side to get a look at my attacker. Young punk of a kid, pink hair down past his neck, thin, steel cyber eyes, leather jacket, greasy black pants, a black rock t-shirt, and a very sharp switchblade in his left hand. I could see his fingers twitching unnaturally. I felt the Leash pull again, but not to fight, but to play. "You shouldn't stick that out unless yer gonna use it pretty boy." I found myself saying.
He didn't say anything, he made a thrust. He was fast, even for a booster, but it was a weak thrust, no power. I rolled my body counter-clockwise with the attack. He sliced into my right sleeve and the body of my jacket, but never connected. In one motion I grabbed for his wrist with my left paw. I got it, and pulled him forward. In a fluid motion I brought my right paw into an open hand slam, and drove it into and through his elbow joint, bending it a negative 32.8 degrees from straight.
One of the better parts of my military career is the memory chip. It's not only a perfect way to remember events, it's also capable of VR reconstruction of any memory that involves a very strong emotional tie. It usually takes adrenaline to kick it in, but under the right circumstances heavy passion or pain can also trigger it. The chip analyses all sensory data, can critique combat technique and target acquisition, and can even give readouts on damage given and received. So any fight I have is saved in cold, hard data in the memory attached to my brain.
When I was discharged, they could not remove the memory unit without killing me, so they left it in. They gave me a box I was supposed to use to erase the memory banks once every few weeks. If I don't it affects my short term memory to the point that I can't remember things from a minute ago. I hacked the chip, took out the blockers, and found out how to get in there. So I have military grade eidetic memory that I can save if I want to. I usually don't, but I do have to admit that I have saved some of the most fantastic sex I've ever had while removing that cold, hard data collection aspect.
That being said, I crushed this punk's elbow. He let out a scream and crumpled to the ground in agony. You never get used to the screaming. Always screaming. But something in my head liked this. I felt the Leash again, but I was in control. I looked down to him and said "I bet that hurts like a motherfucker, don't it?" I let his wrist go, and his arm bent unnaturally as it fell to his side.
"What the fuck you do to Twitch?" someone screamed at me. I looked up to see about three more punks pushing the crowd aside to get to me. Details, I won't go into them. They had on leather jackets too, I knew they were with my broken friend. One was reaching inside his jacket for something. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I knew it was about to get ugly. In my mind I was scrambling for a hook, something I could get into.
That's when fate smiled on me. At the corner some guy driving a stereo on wheels was blasting some old school techno. I picked up on the drum and base and dropped into a crouch, bobbing and weaving left to right in time.
The one who was reaching pulled a .38 snubnose pistol from his jacket while he was running at me. He looked to his right and pushed aside some poor girl in a fake feather jacket on her cell phone. I lunged forward to make a sweep of his right knee, and tangled him up in my left leg. He pointed the gun towards me. I shot my right foot up, hitting his hand and wrist hard and sending the gun flying backwards over his head. He spun his head to watch the gun. I cocked my knee back and drove my foot hard through his groin. Before he could fall I untangled my leg from the knee lock and rolled backwards onto my paws, doing a handspring to standing and getting back into my dance.
One of the other three had pulled a meter length of chain from his jacket shoulder while I danced with his buddy. The chip later said I should have watched him closer, but I didn't. The punk made a swing and hit me hard in my left forearm, a short length of the chain wrapping in my forearm. It hurt, and he tangled me up. He pulled the chain to unbalance me. I went with it, threw my free paw down to do a single handed cartwheel on the down beat of the music. The move was good, his reaction was priceless. He dropped his jaw, just staring at me. My momentum carried me into his body, and I crashed into him like a sack of cement. We both fell to the ground, face to face. I ended up on top of him, and I licked his nose. Don't ask me why, I just did it. He tasted like sweat and motor oil, but I did it.
I heard the third guy behind me, his jacket made a distinct signature in the high range when he moved. I put both my paws onto the downed one, kicked up my feet in time with the synthesizer riff, and kicked backwards with both feet to get up and off of the ground. I misjudged where the third punk was, because I drove both feet into his gut like a bronco. The shock drove me forward, launching me over the downed man slightly. I still had the base line rhythm to pick up on, so I threw my shoulder down and roll, ending up on one knee and my foot in time.
When I spun around I could see the second punk trying to stand up. He was starting to pick up the end of the chain, still around my forearm. I spun for a sweep in the first part of the bridge while getting up on my feet. He dodged it well, too well. I recognized a chipped kata when I see it. Perfect form, perfect positioning, perfect Akido dodge. But chips can't improvise. I telegraphed my next move to look like a punch. He set up to block it. Instead, I killed my momentum to come short, ducked under his block, and drove my left wrist behind his knee. He folded like a card table.
He tried to catch himself, but I pulled him down quickly. In my head I felt the Leash. It wasn't a tug, it was a full fledged pull, telling me what I had to do. Playtime was over, it's time to finish it. I found myself grabbing his chin with my right paw as he fell, laying him backwards with my left hand pushing his knee forward and slamming his kidney onto my knee laying his whole body flat across me. I had his throat fully extended, and I found myself clamping my muzzle onto his throat and starting to bite down hard.
And that's when I scared the living hell out of myself. I was enjoying this. I liked it. I knew what I was doing, it was a death bite, like a cat killing a mouse, or a cougar killing a deer. I was about to kill some punk kid like I was taking down a prey animal! I could taste the punk's fear, hear his muffled whines, my tongue touched his adams apple and I could feel his panting, his last breath. The raw fear of a man who knew he was about to die in a horrific way experienced in a full sensory explosion in my enhanced senses. The excitement of the kill was there, I was almost drunk on it's power. But I stopped myself, I overrode the leash by stopping, and getting a few breaths in, and repeating in my mind "no no no no no no no NO!"
But I still had my teeth around his voice box, ready to crush it in my jaws. I growled deep, and I could smell something acrid. Meanwhile, my musical samaritan put his boom box on tires into gear and screeched the tires as he pulled away from the stoplight unaware of what he gave me. I became more aware of my surroundings, and this one was the only one who posed a threat to me. There were three other guys either sucking wind, yelling in pain, or groaning. You never get used to the screaming of pain and fear. Never.
"You live… because I allow you to live." I snarled out deliberately. Under my teeth I could hear him panting, I could actually feel his blood pumping through his throat harder, faster. The nasty smell got stronger. I shoved him off my knee and let him fall to the ground with a thud, and I slowly got up. I dusted off my knees, my elbow, and bit my lip when I brushed the chain off my forearm as pain shot through my whole body. I was not going to let him see that he hurt me.
"You have ten seconds to leave." I said. I then saw that he had a wet spot around his groin, and it was getting larger. He staggered to his feet and ran. The other people in line broke into a few parts laughter, a few parts applause, a few parts cheering. I turned to look at what was left. One was getting to his feet, still holding his stomach and coughing hard. "Don't." I said. He shot a look at me that would kill if it could, but stayed down.
"Nice moves Sargie!" I heard from behind me. It was a voice from the crowd that was more in jest than in anger.
"Sargie was the DOG!" I screamed, the line well rehearsed. I'd said it a hundred times before. I turned and looked into the eyes of a camera lens, or more correctly about five lenses mounted in a visor array on this man's head. The man wearing them was built well, his trench coat obviously armored and obviously beaten to hell. His short haircut was framed nicely by the visor, a small green light blinking on it. His face had small scars, each telling a story.
"You got a problem with that?" he said.
"yeah!" I shot back.
He reached into his pocket, and I heard a few gasps. He whipped out his wallet in his leather fingerless gloves and flipped it open in front of me. "You got a problem with this?"
I smiled wide, and fumbled into my denim jacket, whipping out my wallet. "No. But you do." I picked out the brass coin from inside it, showing him the painted crest. "You're buying."
"Fuck you Ghost."
"Fuck you harder Mo." And we stared each other down for a few seconds before we both started laughing. We hugged each other, relieved that the other let us off the hook of keeping the game-face on.
"What the hell happened to you?" he asked me, running his fingers through my furry chest.
"It's a long story." I said. "But we gotta call this kid an ambulance or something." The first kid was still whimpering in raw pain. He jumped me, but I still didn't want to see him suffer like that.
"Did it." Mo said. "I got tape evidence of what happened, but I missed the first part. Can you do that again?"
I shook my head. Typical Mo-Pic. Always claiming to have "missed" the beginning, but it's always seemingly flawless video. To make a long story short, the cops came with the ambulance. All the punks claimed that I jumped them as some kind of "morph psycho" defense. But between my eidetic chip and Mo's video evidence, what happened was painfully obvious. The kid with the crushed arm was carted to the hospital while his two buddies were 'helped' into cop cars. They got my information with Mo's and told me to be available the next day if they needed to question me.
When they left Mo grabbed me. "What are you doing here? Come on, I know a better place to hang." How could I say no? Mo and I go back from our days in the military unit. We've been through a lot together, but after the unit disbanded we lost touch. I think I wanted to lose touch with everything from it. We talked a little on our way to this place, "Breakers". I've known it as a working class bar for a little while, but never go in there. They usually frown on "morphs" coming in there. But, with Mo, hey I've followed him down the barrel of a gun before, what's a blue collar joint?
Mo took off his camera, we sat down and started to drink. And I mean really, really drink. Somewhere around the third bottle I finally asked him. "How'd you know that was me?"
"FIRST of all…" he said between laughs "You're the only guy who can beat a booster to the pull."
"Almost didn't!" I laughed, showing him the knife slashes in my jacket. "You know how hard it is to find stuff to fit?" We laughed again, and he took another swig.
"Second… second thing is that you're the only guy I know that dances that cappuccino thing." he said.
"Yeah, that." he said grinning. He knew it always got my goat. "And, third… you're the only guy I know that'd wait that long to finish off a guy!"
"I never did any such thing!" I said to my mock defense.
"Exactly!" he said, putting his beer down as if to punctuate it. We laughed more, and talked a lot. We talked about the old times, the old unit, where everyone was. Two of the guys committed suicide just after getting out, and Mo said he thought I was another one. The unit was like family, when you trust anyone with your life, you're family. So to hear that two took their own lives, it's like losing a brother.
But not everyone was gone. K-9 worked in the New York police now with his partner Crunch. K-9 is the handler, Crunch is the dog. Crunch used to be Sargie, but after his cybernetic mods were installed he earned his nickname of "Crunch". Scarecrow works as a bodyguard now, last Mo heard he was in Bogotá or some other god-forsaken country.
Mo told me all about his post unit life. He took what he learned and became a freelance cameraman, covering things like openings, combats, anything he could sell. "Red mean green." he said to me, meaning blood flowing, but not always death. "You coulda slashed that kid or something, I'da gotten good money for that!"
"You'd sell your own brother?" I said in a very sarcastic tone. He shrugged. "Bullshit!"
"Yer right." he said. "I'da made it available on private pay per view on the net. But since you're you, I won't."
"I'll split it?" We were both pretty drunk by now, and more laughing than being serious. "So what's up with the fuzzy face?" he asked, making circles around his mouth with his finger.
So I told him about M'Lady, my new position in life, why I looked like a cat now, why I wore her collar. He just kept on shaking his head. My memory chip told me that I said to him that I loved M'Lady, and I did the fur because it was something we both wanted. The chip says he shook his head.
The chip also records on a lower power when the user is, how did the military put it, impaired. I went back through the chip later to make sure I didn't drink too many beers. I was mistaken. I did in fact drink too many beers, then a few too many after that. We both staggered back to his place and crashed there.
I woke up on the couch. Mo's place is what I figured it would be. Old movie posters all over the place, old video tapes where there's no posters, and what looked like millions of vid chips organized into categories. Mo was up before I was, and I staggered off the couch and into the main room. Mo was plugged into his editing suite already, putting together clips of the night before. I do have to admit he had a good angle of my bronco kick.
"Bathroom's over there Ghost." he said. He knew. After relieving myself and helping myself to some aspirin I realized I needed to call M'Lady and explain where I was. I did, and M'Lady kinda understood.
"At least you're safe." she said. "Good boy. Come home as soon as you can. I have to punish you for making me so worried!"
"You're losing your touch Ghost!" Mo said as I stumbled back into the main room. "I traced your call, now I know where you live."
"So?" I said. "You coulda found that out in public records too." He looked at me with that weird look of confusion. "Look, I don't need to do that shit anymore. It's over. I'm out."
"You're never out." he said.
We did say our goodbyes soon after that. We got phone numbers, addresses, all sorts of stuff like that to keep in touch. "Anytime you need me Ghost…"
"Same for me bro." I said to him. I made my way home for my 'punishment'. Some punishment, I was forced to rub M'Lady's feet, massage her back, and nibble her neck and shower her with affections. If that's her new form of punishment, I know her cat hating client is in for a surprise. She asked me how my night went, but I wasn't sure how to tell her. "I got to dance." was all I could say.
I realize that a lot of that seemed really irrelevant to anything else in the world, but I think it's important, at least to me, to explain Mo-Pic. At the time I ran into him, I just took it as a strange coincidence. He made it to the same city as me, and set up shop, but nothing more. I never mentioned him before because at the time it wasn't. I've never fucked him, and for some reason I only seem to put in my sex life into my diary. M'Lady says it's my nature, but I'm never sure.
After I came home from Master Louis's house of horrors in the woods I was haunted. Rita's voice, her posture, how she carried herself, it all really haunted me. Her hate for Louis, her fear of him, it really just dug at me constantly for days. Finally I approached M'Lady about it.
"What did Louis do to you?" I asked bluntly.
M'Lady didn't bat an eye. "Nothing happened that night, Darlin'." she said, stroking my ears.
"No." I said softly. "I mean before. What was the favor?"
M'Lady put down her work, and motioned for me to sit. I did. "When I first got into the city, long time ago, he was the only one I knew. I knew him off the net at the time, and he seemed friendly enough. Louis invited me to stay at his house while I found m own place. I thought I knew him."
She started to cry. I brought my paw up to her, but she motioned. "It's my turn Mauz." she said. I held her hand while she talked. "He did invite me in a long time ago, and to earn my keep I… performed. Live sex shows on his net site. It was degrading, but it helped to get me on my feet." She took in a deep breath. "I also had sex with him." She looked at me, crying more. "You're so gentle Mauz. You're an angel. He's a demon. He hurt me. He hurt me a lot."
"So…" I started
"Why did I go back?" she said, finishing my thought. "He still has old vids, he holds them over me occasionally. Every once in a while he'll call me, and promise me a tape in return for a favor. This time it was you." She closed her eyes. "Next time it may be me."
"How many does he have?" I wasn't angry, yet.
"I don't know." M'Lady said to me. "He has a whole wall of chips, other women he's abused. He gets away with it because he has money. Old money. I swore that I'd never let him control me again. He did. He got me to bring you in to fuck his pet." she almost spit that sentence across the floor.
"But you're a registered dom, aren't you M'Lady? It's no big secret what we do here."
She sighed. "Yes, darlin. I am. But he can still hurt me if those tapes are allowed out." I opened my muzzle, and she put a finger on it to silence me. "I'll let you watch the chip from this time. But you won't like it." She was wiping away her tears as she handed me the chip. I opened up the pocket over my wrist, next to my data jack, and slotted in the chip.
And immediately I was flooded with sensory overload. It was a sim chip, from his perspective. M'Lady was tied up under him, and he was carving "M L" on her belly with a hunting knife. And he liked it, the fucking twisted jackass liked every second of it. That was all I could take. I popped the chip out and threw it across the room.
"He's mine." I could feel the fire behind my optics.
M'Lady shook her head. "I told you, Mauzer." she said, holding my paw again. "Move on. He may never call on me again, he may not have any more chips. He's good, Mauzer. I don't think we can hurt him."
I looked up to her eyes. "He's good. But I'm better." I said coldly. "Permission to use my claws?"
She got a somewhat wry grin on her face, that look she saves for subs who are being particularly bad. "Granted."
I picked up the phone on her desk and made a call. It rang twice. "Ghost! You're losing your touch! I had this…"
"Mo." I cut him off. "I need your help."
The next day Mo came by the house. He greeted M'Lady at the door and kissed her hand. She blushed, that's her way. We laid out the entire thing to him then. M'Lady trusted me, and I trust Mo. I swear, he was salivating when we told him what this guy was doing.
"I'll do this free for you." he said. "But I want exclusive. And I want to be there when it all goes down."
I nodded. "And M'Lady's out of it. You don't know us for this piece."
M'Lady released me for an extended period to be at Mo's apartment. And considering that I had nothing pending at work, they didn't need me either. Mo-Pic's console is much faster than mine, and he has a full array of low impedance cables for better quality. Considering that I don't do the heavy stuff any more, I don't need anything this elaborate. But this time, I would need every advantage I could get. He eased me into the couch. I knew this was going to be a long dance in the 'face. I jacked the plugs into my wrist sockets, and eased back. I closed my eyes, and just nodded to Mo.
He hit the go button, and the real world shot back, slamming me into my avatar. It felt familiar, I held up my hand, it ended in a sleeve with flowing translucent rags coming off of it. "You saved the wraith?" I said into space.
I heard a tin voice in my head. "It's a kick ass avatar!" he said. "And it's got the armor to get you out of anything."
I nodded, and executed my main attack program. Cold flames poured from my open sleeves and obliterated the practice firewall. Just like old times. "Ok, don't slow me down by talking to me. Watch if you can keep up." And I took out of his home node and ran with the stealth programs.
Five hours later my optics came back online. I felt like I had been beaten up with a sledgehammer. I weakly reached for my plug to jack out, but Mo pushed my paw down. "JEEZUS!" he said. "I though you were gonna fry! Never took you that long before!"
"almost… wish I were dead… need oj." I said. Vitamin C always helped after a long run. He helped me hold the cup to my muzzle as I drank. I went through four glasses before I felt well enough to actually talk.
"So what did you do?"
"I'll tell you if you're off air." He nodded, and took off the visor. "Louis got mines all over the net. They seek data packets that have his name and information on it and destroy them. Good AI, but they were slaved at the source. I had to trash those without alerting his mainframe that I was doing it. So I poisoned the main program and took down the slave mines."
I took another sip, and sat up. "Then I went into his bank account. He's got mad money. I had fun with that. I had to make a laundry list, but I drained about twenty mil from him and barely made a dent. All electro cash, but it's been through the wash. Want a few million?" He smiled. "He won't need it. I hacked into the IRS files directly through a crack and put his name up there as priority 1 to seize property for a major audit."
"Nice." Mo said.
"Oh, and I found out that he's got about thirty something warrants for his arrest in several states. So he's wanted for federal tax evasion, rape, assault, battery, and oh yeah, sodomy. PLUS he's not a registered dom, so he's also in violation of the health codes too. Blood work is out of code…"
"So how much of this did you find, and how much is bullshit?" Mo asked.
"50-50?" I said. Mo crossed his arms. "60-40?" He laughed. "Thing is it's all legit. I just brought up his individual priorities, which automatically bumped him into the top twenty most wanted in California Free. He just never had all his charges attached, his points are through the roof now. Oh, and the strike force to extract him for questioning leaves in the morning. Check your printer."
He did, and two ID's grinded their way out. One for him, one for me. I was listed as intelligence, he as reconnaissance. But it had our current pictures on it. He looked up at me with a questioning look. "Hacked into your camera, took a picture of you, went into the pet registry, took one of me, went to the site, saw our files were still active, and got us on the roster." He shook his head slowly, grinning from ear to ear. I pulled the plug from my wrist and spun it by the cord. "And you said I was losing my touch."
I called M'Lady and got our answering machine. I didn't need to say much. "We're a go. See you tomorrow night." and I hung up. I knew she was probably with a client, and I didn't want to worry her.
That night we reported to the staging area in the city, a hotel where we could check in with plain clothing. Once we got there our ID's were validated. I got a few strange looks, but as a combat hacker it's my lot to be the strange one. We met our superior, and went over our specialties. Our leader in this was Captain Joseph Berkley, a career military man. "I'm not sure why you two were brought out of retirement for this mission, but I'm glad to have men of your experience."
"Thank you Sir." Mo said. "We never retired Sir, only took an extended leave of absence."
He nodded and laid out the whole plan. Mo would be sent in first with a small recon unit. He would be using tight-beam signal to keep in contact with us up the road leading to Louis Wilson's residence. Since I had been there before, my job was to brief the team, as well as maintain the uplink, make sure our target wouldn't leave, all that. Also, if there was a computer in the residence my job was to make sure it wouldn't self-fry before we could impound it.
A strike team was assembled. Mo was surprised at the speed of all this, until I reminded him the priority of this case. "He's over the Slasher of Taiwan Heights." I told him. We slept at the hotel that night, I had to do the electro sleep thing, I just couldn't get my mind off of the next day.
We took off the next morning, my position was in a communications van with Mo. He was grinning like an idiot the whole time, only we knew how this all got organized. It's standard operating procedure to launch missions like this with no notice, to surprise people before they can react. We drove the few hours and pulled over about a mile away up the road. The sun was very high in the sky, making the Recon team an easy target if they got caught.
I spent my down time in the van creating a map of the grounds as far as I could see them from my last visit. Mo and his company used it to plan their assault. They planned it while the assault team readied their weapons. They would be ready to go when Recon reported back in. Mo still looked in shape in his fatigues, and he ripped the Velcro patches off and put them next to me.
"I hope you still got it Mo." I said.
He grinned at me. "Never lost it Ghost. See you on the other side." He then slipped into his light refracting suit and stepped out of the van. I did my usual radio checks, and his squad moved out.
Every few minutes I'd hear a radio click, microbursts of radio that they used to check in when the reflectors were set up. I followed on the monitors as the squad spread out and approached the log cabin from five sides. They took their time, but they set up. Mo had the front door covered.
"Radio clear, no traffic, no IR, no beams." Mo said into this com link. "No countermeasures, you guys can walk up his driveway if you want."
"Now here's a sick fuck." one of the recon guys said quietly. I went over to his camera, and saw Louis. Just like I remembered, fat, hairy, and ugly. He had a bandage around his arm, and there was still dried blood in it. He was also wearing only his camouflage pants still. There was blood on them too. And standing next to him was Rita. She was hung from her wrists on the ceiling of the cage, blood flowing from her wrists, nose, ears, and the lacerations on her back and chest. He was beating her with a wooden plank, on the head and chest, screaming something.
I heard a snarling sound, then a full growl sound from some feral animal. "Relax Specialist." Captain Berkley said. I didn't realize it was me growling. I looked up to him, apologetically. "Do your job, we'll get him. He's got nowhere to run."
I just nodded, and tried to disengage from it. "Give me audio Recon 2." And as he did, I wish he hadn't. Rita was crying with every blow. Not of pleasure, but of surrender. She hung limp with every blow. I couldn't watch after the tenth blow to the head.
"You thinking of me now bitch?" he kept screaming at her. He'd hit her and scream "Am I in your mind now?" She couldn't answer, she just cried out in raw pain.
"He's killing her." I said, biting back my rage.
"Assault. Hostage situation possible. Exercise extreme caution. Target armed with a wood board. Go." Captain Berkley said. The assault team jumped out the back of van two.
"Take the driveway, there's nothing there." said Recon 4. "And there's no visual until you're almost on the house."
Mo-Pic's video altered slightly, I knew what it was. He was sending an encrypted direct uplink to the main console at his apartment, and saving it all for later editing. Normally, I would have to shut it down, but I boosted his signal instead. All five Recon cameras would get transmitted, I only hoped Mo's suite had the memory to hold it. I grabbed my helmet and put it on, slapped down the visor and grabbed my jack in kit. My face was hidden, and my tail was tucked into the pants. With luck he'd never know it was me.
We followed the assault team up the road, giving them more than a hundred yards of space. They moved along side the gravel driveway in the woods. Later I had a chance to watch the video of the takedown. Louis never knew what hit him. He was still in the cage when they rushed him. He just kept on screaming "fuck you! fuck you! I ain't done nothing!"
I radioed for a medical chopper to come in for Rita while rushing into the cabin. The assault team had Louis down and cuffed well before he could reach for anything. I knew I didn't have a lot of time. Fortunately for me, Louis was a neat freak. All his chips were organized by name, alphabetically.
I saw M'Lady's chips, there were a dozen there. I scooped them up, shoved them in my pocket, and shoved a few other chips into the hole to mask it. I then jacked into his mainframe to make sure there was no self destruct routine in his computer. There was none, but I could see the base components of the program I had poisoned the previous night. It was dead, very dead. He never bothered to check it day to day. I closed that master program, and looked around his drive.
He was a sick fuck. He had a lot of porn oh his hard drive, kids, infants, preteens, a lot of women in radical bondage positions. But none of it was rigged to delete. I logged out before I would really get sick. Captain Berkley was in the room when I plugged out. I nodded to him. "We got it. Add child pornography to the list." He nodded. "How's the hostage?"
He shook his head. "Not good, she's lost a lot of blood. ETA for the chopper is three minutes or so but I don't know if it will help."
"Permission to go with her?" He looked at me. "She's a material witness and as your intelligence specialist I should question her as much as possible."
He gave me a stern look, but he knew I was right. "Go. We'll debrief you at home plate." I ran out to Rita, The Recon team was coming into the clearing now, doing basic cleanup. I kept my visor down the whole time to not show Louis my face. Louis was being "downed", which is a nice way to say he was being tranquilized for resisting arrest. They had already lowered Rita to the ground, and a recon man had her head in her hands, holding her neck straight. I administered some very basic first aid to her, and she was unresponsive. I heard the helicopter come in low over the trees, a med evac. They landed on the main access road, and kept the rotors moving. They put her on a back board, in a cervical collar, and strapped her in for the run down the road. I flashed my ID and jumped in the back of the chopper with Rita.
We were in the air with the paramedics, who were working on her. She barely responded to a sternum rub, her heartbeat was very weak, life signs were fading. It looked bad. The whole time I sat back, and watched helplessly. I'm not a religious cat, but I preyed for her. It was all I could do.
We landed back in the city near "home base". I just kept flashing the badge to open doors for me. They wheeled her into ICU where they spent hours working on her. I was pacing in the waiting room when Mo-Pic came in. "Captain Berkley wants to debrief you." I nodded, and went into a conference room where he was already set up. He asked for my plug. I put my wrist down, plugged into the unit, and he downloaded my mission debrief. It took a few minutes, and he reviewed it while it downloaded.
When it was done, he unplugged me from the box and looked up. "You took 12 chips." he said. "Can you tell me why?"
"There's enough evidence there to kill him fifty times over." I said. "Twelve more chips won't make a difference."
"I could have you court marshaled. Evidence tampering is a federal crime." he was serious.
"You could. But let me save one woman's dignity." I said. "I'll take the trial, just don't humiliate her."
He held out his hand, and I gave him the chips. He looked at the name etched on the chip casings, and looked at me. "She's your owner, isn't she?" I nodded. He read his unit profiles well. He clenched his hand deliberately, and I could hear the sound of plastic and circuit boards grinding and breaking. He opened his hand, and let the broken chip pieces fall onto the table. "Too bad these were destroyed in the raid." he said. "I think I know your angle Specialist, but in this case I'll let it go because you're not career anymore." He brushed the chip parts around the table. "I know you have a life to go back to. Just don't fuck it up Specialist."
"Thank you Sir." I said.
"Now get out of my face." he said. "You have a witness to debrief."
"Yes Sir." I left the conference room while he scooped up the broken pieces in his hand. I paced a while longer before a doctor finally came for me. She wasn't doing well. She was conscious, but he thought that Rita wouldn't stay that way for long. I got permission to go into her ICU room.
I walked in to see Rita there, tubes down her nose, IV's stuck in her arm, poked and prodded in unnatural ways. I put my helmet on the door handle and knelt at her bedside. She opened her eye weakly, the good eye, and looked at me. "Mowwww…. ser?"
"I keep my promises Rita." I whispered softly. "You're free."
She sighed, closing her eye. "Free…"
I put my paw on her forehead and petted her gently. She purred softly, but didn't move. "You'll be out of here in no time Rita. And you can live your life."
"I never forgot you." she said weakly. "I love you Mauzer." she whispered.
"I love you too Rita. Once you're out we can…"
"I'm not leaving Mauzer." she said slowly, slurring her words.
"I'm dying." she whispered.
"No, you're not." I said. "You're going to be ok."
Rita smiled. "He was beating me because of you Mauzer." she whispered. "You were in my mind, not him. He swore he would kill me before letting you own me."
She closed her eye, then opened it. And I saw a spark of defiance that I hadn't seen in her before. "I wished before I died that I'd see your face again." she whispered. "Thank you, my mate."
Then she was gone.
The EKG let out it's long whine, and that last spark I saw in her faded, and she went limp. My rage flared. I wanted to tear the place apart. I wanted to howl in mourning. I wanted to rip Louis's testicles out through his mouth.
All I did was cry. I buried my head next to her body and cried.
I walked out of the ICU in a daze some time later. I had to leave, I couldn't stay any longer. I walked out into the lobby where Mo was sitting. "What happened?"
"Bear ate her."
He closed his eyes "I'm sorry."
I looked up to him, and I know I had fire in my eyes. "Bury him." Mo just nodded.
Rita's injuries were incredible, the doctors was amazed she lasted as long as she did. Her skull, back, ribs, arms, and pelvis were broken multiple times. That wasn't to mention the damage to her eye, the multiple lacerations, bruised internal organs and a punctured lung. In the autopsy it was determined she was pregnant with 'morph children, and they didn't survive the beating either. The defense of Louis destroying his "property" was no longer valid, as the cubs were not his property according to the indentured servitude laws he was bound to by the contract recovered in the finding of fact phase. Now he had 4 counts of manslaughter, as well as murder of Melissa Hendris, the woman's name before her biosculpt.
As a part of the freedom of information act government actions against it's own citizens has become public information. Mo-Pic used the entire takedown, some chips he was allowed to look at, and did some very basic leg work to create a masterpiece story. He highlighted the murder of Rita, "Ruthlessly beaten after being handcuffed and hung in a cage" as he put it, and mentioned that Louis had recently liquidated $20 million dollars, possibly to escape from California Free State.
The network loved it. They ran with it, following the trial. The government was also loving it, as they were being portrayed in a positive light for a change. The government fast-tracked the Louis case, to make an example out of him. Louis's money couldn't save him from the tide of the public opinion, nor could it fight the evidence presented against him.
Many women stepped forward to present evidence against him. M'Lady was never called, and was never tied into the case in any way. I admit that I did a little maintenance from time to time to make sure that she was never even brought into it. Louis tried to bring me into it, saying that I was behind it all. But the defense wasn't allowed to bring me into the case because they could never prove I had actually been there. They tried to get DNA testing on the morph embryo's, but for some reason that data was inconclusive. Mysterious circumstances, to be sure.
Mo got a big bonus from the network, M'Lady's reputation was secure, and Louis was up the creek. But that's not the end of the story.
I came home and M'Lady and we spent a night just together. No words, just her and me. She dried my tears, I dried hers, and we healed together form the hell of what we had gone through. I finally told her that Rita didn't make it. And she just put my head on her shoulder. "We'll make it right, darlin'." She rocked me in her arms, reassuring me.
Seeing as I had $20 million dollars to play with, I knew what I could do. And I did it all, over the top. We gave her a proper funeral. Melissa was a Christian before she joined up with Louis, and we went all out. The service was a good service, and it really helped us put a close on things with Rita. She was buried in her hometown in Maine, her gravestone reads "Melissa Hendris", and "we will always miss Rita" It was covered by Mo-Pic, but he left our faces out of it.
I set up a legal defense fund, anonymously, for anthromorphs who were being discriminated against. It's amazing what $10 million dollars will do when you throw it at lawyers looking to build a reputation. As I type they are preparing a lawsuit against Helbit Memorial for their actions against Sherwood the fox anthro. I found it interesting they contacted me, not knowing that I funded them, to ask for my help in preparing the suit.
Then I paid a visit to the vet again. Specifically, to Tracy. I handed her a certified card with $2 million on it and asked her if she was serious. And we had a long, long heart to heart chat. What she could expect, what she was about to get into, and how much she was about to go through if she chose to do it. She told me she wanted to think about it. I left her the card and the brochure M'Lady gave me when we started our contract.
As for Louis… On one hand I felt sorry for him because he never saw any of this coming. On the other hand, he deserved more. Mo picked up on everything, how he blackmailed several people, how he killed his own property with no care for life, all that. Mo is good, almost as good as I am. After I came home from Rita's bedside I wanted ten minutes alone with him, a roll of duct tape, and a whiffle bat. At least with a whiffle bat I could have made his beating last longer.
Louis was sentenced to undergo a personality chip mind wipe. It was decided that killing a man wasn't "politically correct" some years ago, since a man could do community service instead and lead a productive life. I've heard of these chips, they're almost worse than a death penalty. Your old personality is repressed and a level 15 chip is placed into your skull. As I understand it, your old personality is still there, but the new one overrides it, making you a prisoner of your own mind, a passenger in your own body.
So what happened to him? I had a small hand in his chip creation, but nobody really knows that. A month after his mind wipe he was released, having been "cured". And a few days later he knocked on our door.
"I am sorry for everything I've done to you and your pet." he said to M'Lady, who looked shocked. "And I want to make it up to you." You see, I arranged it so that he will do 'community service', with one of his victims at a time. I almost felt bad for him when M'Lady made him suck my shaft off. Almost. But he looks so adorable in the maid outfit, and after we shaved him he looked so much more appropriate.
I also talked to Tracy again. She said she was going to do it. She already had her name legally changed to "Patches", and she was planning a clinic visit. She asked me and M'Lady to accompany her to the first consultation. I'm not sure why she wants M'Lady there, but M'Lady is already making plans to be there.
So in the end, life does in fact go on. I'm still upset that I couldn't save Rita. Sometimes, I think that if I hadn't waited a few days after coming home I could have done something. I could have saved her. But that's the real bitch about life, isn't it? You always think of what you could have done, what if I hadn't, what if I did something else? In the end, we took a predator off the metaphorical streets at the cost of Rita's life. I like to think that it wasn't wasted.
Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes it eats you. When we said that way back when we were talking about ourselves and that was ok. My risk, my life, my responsibility. I never imagined the bear would eat an innocent bystander. I'll never forget her strength at the end. I like to think that I gave her something before she left us, I gave her hope. If I did, then it's the greatest gift I could have given her.
I will miss you, my mate.
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Curator: Socks the Catt / E-mail: <email@example.com>
Last tinkered with on : Friday, April 5th, 2002
This is (unfortunately) a work of fiction. It depicts sex. Lots of quite graphic sex between several genders and arguably a few species. Af any of this offends you, or anything vaguely pornographic bothers you, don't read this, and don't send me your nasty e-mail (I may enjoy it, you know...)
Being a work of fiction, none of the characters herin are based on a real person (Save the narrator and one other person...) And similarity to any person alive, dead, undead or unalive is coincidental, totally. However, if you see yourself or someone you know in a character be honored. You've been immortalised.