Leona R Wisoker
I woke up in darkness, which, while irritating, wasn’t surprising.
I woke up as a cat, which was.
As always after a stress-induced morph, it took a while for my memories to sort themselves out. The added complication of learning to manage four paws, whiskers, a tail, sharp teeth, not to mention the array of heightened senses, made the process even more difficult than usual. I’d never gone this far from a bipedal-standard form before.
Of all the rotten times for my quirky genetic fice to come up quadruped feline… as my memories returned, I remembered the bigger picture, and the bigger problem.
I was on a spaceship.
I was captain of said spaceship.
And nobody knew I was a morpher.
My human form would have disappeared, possibly leaving behind a few chunks of discarded mass–leftovers that hadn’t been burned up by my metabolic needs. Stress-induced morphs always carved a few pounds off, leaving me smaller and lighter until I could acquire extra mass, but human to cat seemed a bit on the extreme side.
Then I remembered the really big problem we’d been facing when the morph triggered, and it made more sense.
I adjusted my throat and mouth to allow for human speech and said, “Lights on.” It took three tries to get everything right; at last, light washed through the room in a slowly rising tide of brightness.
My cabin looked like a tornado had paid a visit; not unusual, as stress morphs are not particularly sedate events. I moaned a little, seeing my criistalize commemorative mug in pieces on the floor. My only remaining picture of Elsnarion lay shredded beside it. Apparently I’d been upset enough during the morph to relive our one, horrific fight. Not the first that that had happened, either, which was why it had been my only remaining picture.
But that was trivial at the moment. As I’d suspected, the only traces of my former body were a few slimy stains on the floor and a distinct aura of urine and feces–the morph always expelled anything remotely toxic to the new form. I hadn’t eaten much in the preceding twenty-four hours, so that mess was thankfully minimal; still, as my feline senses sorted themselves out, the smell became more and more unbearable. I had to get out of this room.
The floor shivered a little: footsteps. Many, heavy, military-booted footsteps, coming down the corridor toward my cabin. The really big problem was, apparently, coming to me…