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Old 06-11-2010, 05:15 PM   #1   [permalink]
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Zippy Zipperdale: Moderately Mad Scientist (thread 3)

After a long delay of starts and stops, and after getting distracted by projects that people appreciated more, I finally finished off the ninth Zippy chapter, still driven by whatever unknown force that compels me to keep writing this. In this chapter, Krystal finally get her girls night out arranged, but a surprising revelation takes everyone in a new direction they'd never thought they'd see.

For those few of you who are still bothering to read this, I hope it was worth the wait. By the way, does everyone like the Megan character? I've been wondering about that since its the weirdest character I put in here.

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The Ninth Experimen

By Hardcover

After a long night of tossing and turning in a sleepless torment, her body shivering and shuddering as its muscles seemed to move on their own, Charity Milquetoast only managed a small amount of sleep, finally nodding off after curling up in a fetal position, scared out of her mind while her body seemed to ripple with motion that was not of her own volition. She had been frightened out of her mind, not knowing what was happening to her, but she was even more frightened of going to a teacher. It was one of her secret fears, that something might happen to her and the teachers would turn her into their own private guinea pig instead of helping her.

So she had lain in bed, as who knows what happened to her, afraid to tell anyone, not even her roommate.

She awoke, not with a gentle return to consciousness; but rather a sudden jolt, as if from some nightmare that she couldn’t remember in her waking state but none the less left her fretful and scared. She peered out from under the sheets and saw through the dim light filtering through the shades that her roommate Tiffany Pikenbeiler had already left without even bothering to wake her. She had obviously slept right through her alarm.

Timidly, Charity threw the covers back on her sheets and swung her legs over the side. Something was strange; the room seemed slightly different somehow: Almost like it was subtly more defined and clear to her eyes then it had ever appeared before. She dropped to the floor and tried to stand up.

She could only manage a slight stoop; she was distressed to discover that she couldn’t stand up all the way.

She staggered towards the bathroom, new fear crawling in her belly. She felt all different. She was standing on her toes, but she couldn’t seem to put her feet flat on the floor, and there felt like there was some kind of swelling at the base of her spine, it felt heavy and uncomfortable, like something was attached back there.

She passed a mirror and looked at her reflection.

At that moment, Charity screamed.

Crouched down naked in the shower, Zippy playfully splashed water onto Jetson who was also in the tub with her. She giggled as she cupped the water in her hand and tossed it in the direction of the squid, who squirted back at her with his funnel. They were both having a good time when Zippy thought she heard a scream.

What did someone screw up now, she wondered?

Deep in the massive underground tank that she called her home, Megan the megalodon swam gently through the gloom. She was in the middle of the tank, and as such could not see the surrounding walls. It was almost like being in the open ocean, but safer. Nothing in this tank would threaten her children once they were born, or at least Megan hoped so. She lazily moved around, letting the salt water flow through her mouth where it was filtered through her gills, giving her the oxygen she needed to live. In these moments, alone with her unborn pups, Megan felt almost serenely at peace.

She knew where her mate was, of course; Morgan was far below her swimming around at the bottom of tank, which he enjoyed. She floated around, noting the heaviness in her abdomen: It wouldn’t be long now, and her twins would be born. The thought filled her with an excited giddiness and a warm feeling that ran all the way down the length of her sixty foot body to her tail. She couldn’t wait to be a mother, a mother of the most unique set of twins in the world: The next generation of the new species of megalodon that she and Morgan represented. She swelled with pride and excitement at the thought.

She moved and angled her head, pushing forward with one mighty thrust of her tail. Suddenly, her lateral lines, fine fluid filled vessels that ran along the length of her body that picked up vibrations in the water, began to detect movement. As she turned around, her keen eyes spotted something far at the end of the tank. They were almost invisible at this distance, but she could definitely make out several figures swimming in the tank with her.

Annoyed, she gave another powerful thrust of her tail and headed in their direction. She didn’t mind guests, but whoever these people were; they were coming in uninvited and trying to sneak around unnoticed. It was just common courtesy to announce yourself when you entered someone else’s territory, and Megan didn’t like anyone sneaking around in hers and Morgan’s like a human thief; especially not with her twins on the way.

But, as with the other times she’d noticed them, no matter how fast she moved, they were gone by the time she got there. Even at her top speed of 35 MPH, the human figures were gone before she arrived. She snorted in annoyance, pushing bubbles out of her nose. She was sure they were using the aqueducts to move in and out of the tanks, it was the only way. She clacked her teeth together: These intrusions were more then just irritating; they had her significantly worried, and when you’re sixty feet long and have a mouth full of six inch teeth, that wasn’t easy to do.

What bothered her the most was something she hadn’t told Zippy and the other girls: Like all sharks, Megan’s senses were quite acute, utilizing a wide array of stimulation to sense things in the water. One of her most powerful was her ampullae of Lorenzini; a network of canals in and along her head that were filled with a special jelly like substance that allowed her not only to detect magnetic fields to help her navigate, but to detect the weak electrical stimulation of muscle movement that all living things give off. At any given time, Megan knew where every other animal in the aquarium section of the school was (hell, she knew when students were swimming in the moat), and she always knew when the humans were coming around before they got here.

But these swimmers, these intruders into her territory, gave out such a strange, low key signal, that they were almost invisible to her in the water.

Chatting excitedly as girls do, Zippy, Lizzy, Rina and Krystal made their way down the hall enwrapped in their conversation. They’re conversation was one to be expected; the other three were trying weed juicy details about Zippy’s date with Kyle out her. They were prodding, but Zippy was insistent that they’d seen everything that was worth seeing when he kissed her, but they still pressed for more details. What they thought could have happened, Zippy didn’t know; it wasn’t like he had proposed to her or anything. But the gigging and jabbing continued.

In the midst of all this, Krystal was having a ball; as she had grown to adore girl talk, the kind of fun light conversation that had never been available to her as Cristobel; she found she looked forward to these moments of simple fun with the girls. She wondered if now would be the time to bring up a girls night out? She had been itching to try something like that for a while now.

“I’m telling you, there’s nothing to tell.” Zippy insisted, “You saw all the best stuff when he kissed me.”

“I think you’re not telling us the whole truth.” Lizzy said.

“Of course I am.” Zippy rolled her eyes, “If we’d done anything else I’d tell you.”

“Are you sure?” Rina smiled happily.

“Rina, how shy do I look.” Zippy said levelly, “If we’d had sex, I’d have told you about it.”

Rina blushed, her face turning a bright shade of pink, “Ah . . . that’s . . . that’s not what I meant.”

Everyone giggled at Rina’s embarrassment. That hadn’t been entirely true; as far as Zippy was concerned, if they’d had sex, it was none of their goddman business (At most, she might have told Lizzy), but she’d said it to get exactly this kind of reaction and put the focus on Rina and not her. As they moved forward they were suddenly confronted by Miss Piranha, dressed in a slinky leather outfit that looked more like it was strapped to her body rather then worn by her. She clapped her hands gleefully together as she saw the four girls.

“Why hi there, my little Frankenstiens.” She squealed, “And how is our girl Zippy after her big date?”

Zippy smiled, “It was great. We really hit it off and we’re gonna start seeing each other. It was perfect.”

“So,” Miss Piranha asked with a gleam in her eye, “Did anything else happen? More then that kiss we saw?”

Zippy rolled her eyes and everyone laughed, even Miss Piranha was trying to wring the juicy details out of her. Maybe she was just reading things into it, but for the last few days it seemed like Miss Piranha had been overly chipper with them, as if she had been trying to hard to look happy and energetic. It occurred to Zippy, that she might be depressed about something, there was an unusual look of sadness in her eyes, and emotion that had seemed, for a long time, almost foreign to their strange leather clad teacher.

The thought was interrupted by Krystal, who jumped in with a suggestion, “You know what, this calls for a celebration.”

Zippy raised an eyebrow at her, “It does?”

“Yes! It does!” Krystal insisted, “Just us girls! A night at The Manhattan Project!”

As soon as she said it, Krystal felt a wide excited grin spread on her face. She tried to fight it down, but she couldn’t help her enthusiasm; she’d been wanting to have something like this since she first realized she treasured her moments with the other girls. With her friends, she realized; which she had never had a lot of before now. Well, that made sense, at least now she knew why she was so energized about this prospect.

“You know,” Rina piped up from the back, “That’s not a bad idea; we haven’t had a night out with just us in a while. And the spa will be working tonight; we could all go there and relax afterwards.”

Zippy chewed her lip, the idea seemed fun, “What the hell, let’s do it: A girl’s night out for The Shark Tank Guild. We can bring Stitchy along; she should experience this as well.”

“Yes, and Eve will be awake by then.” Lizzy said “We should invite her too. The Twins will wish to come as well.”

“Then it’s settled!” Krystal proclaimed, much too loud.

Miss Piranha smiled at her, “You’re really looking forward to this, aren’t you, Krystal?”

All Krystal could do was nod and giggle.

Zippy patted her shoulder, “Wow, you really are one of the girls now.”

Zippy noticed that Krystal’s eyes actually got moist at that statement. But it was the truth, Krystal had assimilated faster and more completely then she had expected. And she had become, quite surprisingly, a rather good friend to them. It was good to see her embracing her new identity; though the ease of it was unexpected. Though maybe it shouldn’t have been; Zippy now knew that Cristobel’s life had not been the perfect existence he’d made it out to be. The question was, did this new integration into the group make Krystal more fragile then she should be? Zippy wasn’t sure, she didn’t really think so, but it was a concern.

On the other hand, watching Krystal practically skip down the hallway in excitement; it was hard to think her being so happy was any kind of bad thing.

The sprawling fake city in Miss Gojira’s class was under attack once again, this time the four legged robot was a lithe wolf like construction that stomped its way through the miniature metropolis, crushing buildings, biting freeways and sending missiles careening at the targets with exploded with deadly accuracy and instantaneous results. The robot strolled forward, its’ lupine face swinging back and forth as it did so, moving further into the artificial conurbation, wrecking untold urban cataclysm. Its dark eyes whirred as the cameras within sought out its next target.

The robot was called the Dual Kalkageon; it was seven feet long and polished a bright chrome color that glistened in the morning sun as it moved. It was controlled by the Farrell Twins, working in tandem at controls boards that sat on their desks. The class cheered with enthusiasm as the Twins demonstrated their creation. Miss Gojira happily made notes on her note pad, dressed in Uhura’s outfit from Star Trek, her cosplay fixation in evidence as usual.

“Oh! Oh! This is so awesome!” She squealed with her usual glee.

The Kalkageon made its way and spotted the last target. With a high pitched wine, its tail shot out in a curved whip like motion and hit the building with a tremendous crack. The metal whip slashed through the structure, ripping it apart in seconds. The small fake building collapsed and exploded, falling in pieces to the ground like a demolition drop. A huge pile of dust flooded out from the pile of rubble as the fake building ended its existence.

The robot moved back and off the city settling down on its haunches as it powered down. The wrecked buildings lowered into the ground and were replaced by new ones a few seconds later that rose up from underneath. Miss Gojira picked up a small microphone that was remotely wired to a few speakers, a new addition to her class that made her lessons look even more like the WWE then they had before.

“Alright, excellent work, girls.” She chirped happily, “Especially with that whip tail; the function came off flawlessly. High marks for both of you.”

Miss Gojira came over and patted them both on the shoulders, and then as an added bonus, reached down and rubbed their bellies. The two wolf girls yipped with delight and twitched their legs like puppies.

When she went back to the front, Lorne Vasectomy leaned over with his usual wide eyes and dark bags under his eyes, and said, “Great work, Nadjia.”

“Thanks.” Nadjia replied.

“So what am I, chopped liver?” Katjia raised an eyebrow at him.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:16 PM   #2   [permalink]
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“Oh, yes.” Lorne admitted, “Good work, Katjia.”

Katjia rolled her eyes at him.

Amber got up and went to the front to give her presentation, passing the Farrell twins as she did.

“Not bad for a pair of mongrels.” She sneered snidely.

She suddenly jumped back as the twins both growled and bared their teeth at her. Giving them wide berth, she continued up to the front, casting another apprehensive glance at the twins. She gave a derisive snort and stepped up to the front of the classroom, where several Werx had moved her project into position, covered by a large canvas tarp.

She cleared her throat and spoke, “For my latest invention, I decided to take a route rarely traveled before: Why duplicate the limited use of mammalian limbs? My new robot is designed to be as versatile and functional as possible, compacting a wide variety of functions with a simple, pragmatic design. I give you: The Multi Function Tiffenbot 2000!”

At a rather pompous gesture from Amber, the Werx pulled the sheet off of her creation and revealed it in all its metallic glory: The robot consisted of a large slightly oblong rounded main body that was highly polished and glinted in the morning sun. The globe sat on top of a round pivot out of with two large HD cameras faced forward, moving back and forth on gyros. Along the left side of the globe, a small exhaust funnel pointed out at diagonal angle.

Underneath the pivot, a series of eight gyros mounted an equal number of long metal tentacles, that seemed to house small doors in their tips. Amber pressed a button on the small remote control she carried, and a low groan was heard as the robot powered, raising it tentacles as if at attention.

Tapping her clipboard enthusiastically, Miss Gojira exclaimed, “Oh, that’s a beautiful octopus robot, Miss Tiffendale.”

Amber bristled at the comment, “It’s NOT an octopus. It’s a Multi Function Tiffenbot!”

“It’s got eight tentacles.” Miss Gojira offered.

“It’s NOT an octopus!” Amber insisted.

“Okay, whatever you say.” Miss Gojira said, waving her off.

Katjia rested her hands on her chin and muttered, “It looks like an octopus to me.”

Rapidly pressing buttons, Amber made the robot move forward and into the city. With a rapid manipulation of the controls, the Tiffenbot lurched forward as the targets appeared. With a loud clack, each of the tentacles opened at the tops and revealed various weapons hidden within. Waving the tentacles with deadly accuracy, the Tiffenbot sent bullets, missiles, lasers, metal whips and other items at each target at once. Within seconds, all targets had been leveled.

There was a collective round of gasps from the class at the Tiffenbot’s effectiveness. Amber chuckled to herself, narrowing her eyes. She punched a few more buttons and the Tiffenbot moved forward with smooth motions. As soon as it got close, the weapons in the tentacles retracted and other tools began to pop out with a series of metallic clicks. The Tiffenbot began moving it’s tentacles around rapidly, and to the surprise of all, began to rebuild the demolished buildings, working fast and rapidly, it’s tentacles a blur of motion.

It took less then a minute for the structures to be completely rebuilt from the ground up, and when it was done, you would swear nothing had happened to them. When its task was completed, the Tiffenbot simply went back to its “attention” pose, awaiting further instruction. Amber gave a haughty smile at the class.

“As you can see, the Multi Function Tiffenbot not only can destroy, but repair as well, and there is no end to its abilities with its unique design by me.” She announced, “And as such, I feel is just one of the best that can be achieved with current technology.”

Despite the snotty wrap up, the class couldn’t help but be impressed by the display put on by the Tiffenbot. There was a round of applause, even if some of it was slightly reluctant.

Even Nadjia had to say, “Wow, that’s an awesome octopus!”

Amber turned and glared at her, “It’s NOT an octopus!”

Nadjia shrugged, “It looks like an octopus to me.”

Apparently, the Tiffenbot’s resemblance to an octopus had been some sort of contention the whole time that she was building it, because she became infuriated by Nadjia’s insistence that it looked like one. Truth be told, Nadjia was not the only one who couldn’t help but see a cephalopod in the round bulbous body and eight long tentacles.

“That’s because you’re an uncivilized idiot!” Amber retorted, “Go back to your goddamn jungle, mongrel.”

“Humph!” Nadjia folded her arms over her chest, “Beats being a snotty little stuck up skank.”

Amber gritted her teeth, “You’re just jealous because my robot can mop the floors with yours.”

Now Katjia was in on this, “Yeah, in your dreams, Amber.”

Years of life in the wild had left the twins with almost remarkable intuition, so they knew what was coming, and had already powered on the Kalkegan before Amber furiously sent the Tiffenbot at them in a rage. The Kalkegan leapt forward and plowed into the Tiffenbot in a preemptive strike with a screech of metal on metal. The two robots flew back into the fake city, tearing through buildings and reducing them to rubble before splitting apart and squaring off.

Miss Gojiria squealed with delight, speaking into her new microphone, “Oh, it looks like we have a death match here, ladies and gentlemen. In one corner we have the Farrell twins and their Dual Kalkagean, and in the other corner, we have Amber’s Multi Function Tiffenbot octopus thing.”

“It’s not an octopus.” Amber growled.

“Let’s get ready to rumble!” Miss Gojiria cried, excited beyond measure by this new development.

The metal tentacles streaked out and tried to grab and crush the Kalkagean. The other robot moved easily and dodged the blow sending its whip tail out at its opponent. The Tiffenbot skillfully beat the whip off and tried to follow up with a laser blast but the twins had already moved their creation out of range. The Kalkagean ran at them jerking left and right, dodging the laser blasts until it was too close. The Tiffenbot raised its tentacles and swung them at the Kalkagean with attacked with its claws.

Abandoning the exchange of fire, the two robots began to grapple with each other, exchanging blows back and forth, each one by turns gaining and loosing ground while their controller frantically hammered buttons on the control box. The clanging sound of metal crashing against metal filled the outdoor classroom as the titanic struggle gained steam, both robots pounding on each other with a furious determination, fueled by the endless energy of pissed off angst ridden teenage girls.

Sounding like a ringside announcer at a wrestling match, Miss Gojira kept up a blow by blow announcement, “Good left hook from the Kalkagean, but the blocked by the Tiffenbot!”

The Tiffenbot began to throw its tentacles at the Kalkagean furiously. The Twins blocked the blow but the Kalkagean was being driven further and further backwards loosing ground until it teetered dangerously close to the edge of the school’s moat.

“The Kalkagean is backed up to the shore!” Miss Gojira squealed, “Is this the end.”

Amber fired off one massive punch to the Kalkagean, shoving the robot over the edge and towards the water. Just as she thought she had them, however, the other robot reached out and grabbed hers, pulling the Tiffenbot down with it. For a split second, the two machines wavered on the edge of the moat, and the they both went over, hitting the water with a tremendous splash that sprayed the class with droplets of liquid.

“Both combatants have plunged into the moat!” Miss Gojira announced, “Is this the end?”

For a while, nothing happened, the water was still and quiet. And then, both robots broke the surface, still locked in their battle. Swept along by the water, they moved down the stream, trading blows with each other in furious conflict, seeming almost possessed by the irate rage of their controllers.

Eager to see the rest, the class followed the two robots along the banks, with Miss Gojira gleefully keeping up her commentary.

Just before the bridge that sat in front of the main entrance to the school, the robots reached shore and crawled up onto dry land still grappling with one another, much to the surprise of the students standing out front. People went scattering for cover as the two machines locked in combat with each other. Mud splashed and caked the bottoms of the robots as they crossed the banks, hammering on each other with tireless fury.

Circling each other in as they exchanged blows, the robots sent the sounds of grinding metal on metal up into the air. They circled the fountain out front as their limbs flew at each other so quickly it became a blur to the human eye. In their fierce combat the creations almost seemed to come alive on their own, rather then being controlled by their creators as they pounded each other with reckless abandon.

The class surrounded each other them and followed them, talking amongst themselves and laying odds on which one would win. The robots crashed through the main entrance to school, pulling the doors off their hinges.

Gortcha appeared in the main hall almost instantly. He strolled forward angrily, his metal chest puffed out in indignation.

“All right ya’ punks.” He glowered, “What have you gotten into this time? You don’t wanna go messing with Gortcha today, or I’ll whip your asses but good.”

The two robots came bursting through the doors, locked in mortal combat with each other, their limps furiously lashing at each other with an almost hateful embrace of violence. Rolling forward without a hint of stopping, Gortcha screamed the minute he saw them, dodging out of the way and then running back down the hallway screaming in panic.

“Waaaaaahhhhhh!!!! I don’t wanna die! Help me!” He cried like a little girl.

Other students went running out of the front hall while Miss Gojiria’s students followed Amber and the Twins inside. The two creations battled it out, metal and gear symbols of the three girl’s animosity towards each other. Loud pounding and clanging filled the room with deafening intensity as each party tried to defeat the other, combat escalating furiously in and almost insane competition of irritation.

In the end, the final blows came in a manner worthy of a Warner Brothers cartoon. The Kalkagean lurched one arm and got in a devastating blow to the Tiffenbot’s head, crunching into the metal and penetrating deep into the cranial circuitry. Just before it went down, the Tiffenbot threw a tentacle and neat eviscerated the Kalkagean’s chest, ripping its power supply to shreds.

All Amber and the Twins could do was stare in shock as their robots keeled over in a useless shower of sparks and smoke. Werx filed into the room and quickly began repairing the damage as the girls stared at what had happened, speechless.

Behind them, Miss Gojira was bouncing up and down like a kid in a candy store. Completely unconcerned that her tiny 1960s Star Trek dress had ridden up over hips, and revealed to the class that she was wearing red panties with the words “I love Nimoy” written on the back.

Krystal was sitting in her dorm room putting together a list of things she needed for her next project. She was barely able to concentrate; the prospect of finally having her girl’s night out was just too distracting. She tried to calm herself; after all she didn’t want to go in having too big of and expectation for the night and let herself get bitterly disappointed. But the idea had been brewing in her head for some time now, and it was almost impossible for her not to get excited at the prospect of finally having it.

She smiled a little; her time with her friends: It was the antithesis to her previous life of solitude and manipulation. All her life, she had heard people talking about the value of friendship; but she’d never understood it. Sure, she knew the importance of making contacts and alliances, but Cristobel had never really understood the real value of good friends. Except for his friendship with Kevin.

She felt that now familiar warm flow over her body at the thought of her friend. She’d long since stopped trying to stop it when it came, even though it was a very good bet that there was no future for them. It inevitably led to bouts of sadness and frustration, but often she felt that the brief euphoria of fantasy was worth it. She chuckled and kicked herself; she was being foolish and romantic. There was no way she and Kevin could be . . . was there?

She got up, slipping the list into the pocket of her uniform, and moved towards the door. He head was dizzy with both thoughts of Kevin and tonight’s festivities. She had her head in the clouds to such an extent, that she didn’t notice that Jetson was in the room until she had stepped on one of the squid’s tentacles. She didn’t realize what it was at first, only that she had stepped on something soft and squishy, until she heard the cephalopod yelp in pain and alarm.

“Ouch!” Jetson called, “Medical assistance needed!”

Krystal quickly moved her foot, looking down apologetically, “I’m sorry, Jetson, I didn’t see you there.”

“Unacceptable, Krystal!” Jetson waved his tentacles indignantly, “Revenge shall be mine!”

“What? Jetson . . .” Krystal began.

But Jetson had already scurried off towards the bathroom, “When you least expect it: Expect it.”

“I said I was sorry.” Krystal called after him, miffed by his attitude.

She chuckled a little at her self; she was apologizing to calamari. Still, it seemed that Jetson had been agitated lately, and she wondered what the cause was. Zippy’s devotion to her pet had a certain endearing infectious quality to it, and Krystal thought she would probably feel bad if anything ever happened to the little guy.

She slung a large bag over he shoulder and made her way out of the dorm room and down the hallway, moving out into the central chamber which was always crowded with people. She was heading for the supply room to pick up some of the stuff she needed for her project. As usual, the central shaft was pandemonium as students on all the levels ran this way or that in middle of various experiments. Krystal pushed her way through the crowd, heading for the lift. As she made her way forward, she was surprised by the sudden appearance of Rick Millhouse as he approached her.

She’s barely known Rick when she was a guy; he’d always been that boy who always followed Charity around. After becoming Krystal, she’d talked to him probably once. She knew he was Charity’s boyfriend now, but none of the old groupies had anything to do with her these days, and it was almost like they were from another life. It was a bit of a surprise the Rick actually came up and talked to her.

“Hey, Cristo . . . ah, I’m sorry, Krystal?” He started.

“Hey, Rick. What’s up?” She asked, unconsciously giving him a gender neutral greeting.

“I was just wondering if you’ve seen Charity anywhere.” He asked her, “Or if you know where she is?”

Krystal shook her head, “Sorry, I haven’t seen her.”

Rick ran a hand through his hair, “She didn’t come to any of her classes this morning, and she’s not in her dorm room. You don’t know what’s going on?”

Again, Krystal shook her head in the negative, “I’d like to help, Rick, but Charity hasn’t spoken to me at all since . . . this.”

She waved her hands down, gesturing at her female body. Rick nodded in understanding.

“She’s not answering her phone either.” Rick moaned, “I’m worried about her.”

“I haven’t seen her, sorry.”

Rick thanked her and moved off. Krystal continued, thinking about the conversation. Rick had really looked worried about Charity. She wondered, almost playfully, if Kevin would get that worried if she disappeared. The thought made her smile a little as she moved to the platform.

Suddenly, she was confronted by Jetson right before her. Before she could even register what he was doing, the squid took aim with his funnel and sent a blast of warm air out of it’s body and up in Krystal’s direction. She felt a gust of air against her bare legs and her hair flew back, billowing out behind her with the force of the blow.

Too her shock, she realized that her skirt had also been blown up around her chest, completely exposing the cutesy pink and white panties she was wearing underneath. They even had a small heart on the front. She cried out as the whole area took a gander, more then a few camera phones clicking.

Krystal turned beet red as she franticly shoved her skirt down, “Eeeeeeekkkkk!”

The storage room she’d gone to, one of many in the school, was empty at this time of day, so Krystal had no trouble going around and finding the items she needed. Ticking them off on her list, she moved around, slipping what she needed into the bag she’d brought. This wasn’t exactly a high profile project, but it was a point of pride with Krystal that she never did a half assed job. For everything she attempted, she used her whole ass, or she didn’t do it.

She grabbed another item, stuffing it in the bag. She didn’t admit it to anyone, but she’d always found these storage rooms pretty creepy when she was alone in them. Something about the low light and the shadows cast on the wall; it always made her feel a tad uneasy. If she stayed in here long enough, her mind began to play tricks on her. She shivered a little but moved on deeper into the room heading after the last item.

When she first heard the sobbing, she was sure it was her imagination again. But as the sounds persisted, she began to realize it wasn’t; somebody was in here with her, somebody crying. For a split second, Krystal thought it was a ghost. She quickly chided herself for jumping to such an unscientific conclusion. She followed the sounds of the sobs deeper into the storage room, trying to pinpoint their source.

The thought occurred to her that it might be Charity; maybe something had happened to her and she’d been hiding out here all day. Hell, maybe she was just still upset about having the word ‘thief’ burned on her face from Zippy’s booby trap. It was hard not to snicker at that thought. But when she turned the corner and spied the figure curled up on the floor, she could see that it was not Charity at all.

To her utter surprise, it was Miss Piranha.

She sat on the floor, curled up with her legs pulled up to her chest, tears flowing down her cheeks, smearing the excessive mascara and eyeliner she always wore. Her eyes were squeezed shut her body shook with the sobs as she cried and moaned despondently. It took Krystal back for a second; she’d never seen Miss Piranha like this before. She was usually so peppy and upbeat.

Cautiously, Krystal approached her teacher, “Miss Piranha?”

Miss Piranha gasped a little as she was discovered; she looked up at Krystal, an almost guilty expression on her face as being caught in such a vulnerable moment. She stared up at her, moisture still flowing down her face. She attempted a weak smile, with no success.

“Oh, Krystal . . . I’m sorry.” She tried to wipe away the tears but fresh ones replaced them.

“Miss Piranha, are you alright?” Krystal asked her.

She kicked herself as soon as she’d said it; anyone could see that Miss Piranha was far from alright. It was almost frightening to see the always jovial and exuberant teacher reduced to this much misery; as if there was suddenly something very wrong with the world.

Miss Piranha again tried and failed to smile, “Oh, I’m fine. I’m just having a cry.”

There was a small, very uncomfortable silence, and then Miss Piranha broke down. Her face sank and she buried her face in her hands, sobs wracking her body as she cried loudly and desolately.

“Oh, I’m not alright! I’m not alright!” She cried wretchedly, her tears spilling out from between her fingers.

Staring down at her teacher, Krystal was at a loss over what could have driven Miss Piranha of all people to such despondency. Was it a man who dumped her? Or had she been reprimanded or fired?

Krystal knelt down next to her, “Miss Piranha? What happened?”

For a long time, the teacher didn’t say anything, simply cried, finally, she turned and looked at Krystal, a heart rending hopelessness in her eyes. Her lips quivered, and she seemed to be debating whether she should answer. She looked down at the floor, sniffling softly.

“I . . . got my medical tests back at the beginning of the week.” She said.

Again there was a pause, Krystal’s heart hammered in her chest. She almost didn’t want to hear this. Medical tests? This didn’t sound good.

Miss Piranha looked back at her, her eyes filled with despair, “I have bone cancer. I . . . I’m dying.”

Her first reaction was a flood of denial; her mind flatly refusing to believe what she had just been told. In fact, a flare of anger rose in her; infuriating her that Miss Piranha would play such a cruel trick on her. But looking into her eyes, the disbelief fell away at the agonized, fearful gaze. Suddenly it was like the floor had opened up beneath her and Krystal was sucked down into a pit of never ending darkness.

It felt like Krystal had been slapped in the face. Fear and pain clawed at her stomach as the news sank in. Miss Piranha, dying? It felt like the most unnatural thing in the world; not Miss Piranha, who was always so full of life. Although as Cristobel, she’d though of her as a ridiculous waste of a teacher; she grown to really appreciate her as Krystal. Much like she’d been with Zippy, Miss Piranha had been the one teacher who had been the most approachable and the most supportive of her since her transgender surgery. The thought of loosing her, of being without that bubbling support, it horrified Krystal. More then that, she realized she thought of Miss Piranha as a friend, not just an instructor; as important to her these days as Zippy and the rest of the Shark Tank Guild.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:17 PM   #3   [permalink]
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And cancer, why’d it have to be cancer? Cancer was one of the few diseases that Madame Petri’s had never found a cure for.

In a fully impulsive move, Krystal put her arms around Miss Piranha and pulled her close to her. The older woman shudder and heaved with renewed sobs, and quickly wrapped her arms around her student’s waist, her body trembling as she filled the air with the sounds of her frightened misery.

“Oh god, Krystal.” She moaned, “I’m so scared.”

Krystal held her tightly, almost desperately; as if she was afraid Miss Piranha would fade away right in front of her if she let go. She held on to her as her teacher cried despondently gripping her waist with such force that it actually hurt. She felt like a chasm of despair was yawning open to swallow her up, but she held on and let Miss Piranha cry on her shoulder.

“Okay, let it out. Let it out.” She said softly, trying to sound comforting.

What could she say? What in the world could you tell someone who was dying? What could you say to someone who told you something like that? Krystal was at a complete loss. She just hugged her and hoped it was enough. For a long time, the cries and sobs came uncontrolled, as Miss Piranha’s body shook with tremors of grief. After a while, they slowed down, turning into simply whimpers.

“I’m here. I’m here.” Krystal murmured, hugging her.

She didn’t know what else to say or do.

“Thank you, Krystal.” Miss Piranha blubbered, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have burdened you with that. You don’t have to stay; you have that party with the girls tonight. I know how excited you were about that.”

It took only a second for Krystal to respond, surprising herself with her words.

“It’s alright, I won’t go. You’re more important.” She told her.

She stayed where she was, blowing off the party that minutes ago had been so important to her. He decision surprised her a bit; for so long in her life, her life as Cristobel at least, nothing had ever mattered but himself. Other people were always tools for him to advance himself. As Krystal, she’d been aware of that changing, but she hadn’t really expected that much. Now, here she was tossing something she’d wanted so badly to take care of someone else. It wasn’t what she wanted to do, she realized, but it was what she felt she should do. And it was simply not in her nature anymore to leave Miss Piranha laying on the floor in this dire condition.

Miss Piranha managed a bitter laugh through her tears, “I was lying. I don’t want you to go. I want you to stay with me. I’m selfish, I know.”

“I’ll stay.” Krystal ran her hand over her head, “I’ll stay all night if I have to.”

She felt Miss Piranha’s tears splash over her neck as the woman renewed her desperate sobs. She pulled tight against her, holding on to Krystal like a life boat. Krystal felt splashes of moisture on her cheeks.

She realized that she was crying too.

A far cry from the way it had been on her date with Kyle, Zippy found The Manhattan Project tonight to be a loud, wild dance club, packed with people. The décor was the same as it had been, with addition of stage lights that bathed the room in an ever changing spectrum of color. Music played, the kind of stuff you would have heard in any club, and people danced and drank or sat at tables conversing loudly over the noise. Stitchy had been practically mesmerized by the abundant lights as soon as she walked in, looking everywhere with her customary enthusiasm, trying to take in everything as quickly as she could.

Aside from Zippy and Stitchy: Lizzy, Katjia, Nadjia, Madoka, and Eve were also there. Zippy was returning to their table where Lizzy and Stitchy sat waiting for her with their drinks, easy to find since Stitchy’s towering frame was easy to spot.

As the music pounded, the Farrell Twins had hopped up on the bar and were bumping and grinding in fine booty shaking fashion, dressed in loose fitting tiger striped dresses that seemed appropriate for them.

They both howled joyfully together, “Awwooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!”

Although it was Rina who had agreed to come to the outing, it was Madoka who had shown up. Dressed in a tube top and a mini skirt that probably was illegal in some countries, Madoka was out dirty dancing with a variety of guys, grinding on them in ways that was sure to make Rina blush when she found out what Madoka had been doing with her body.

Everyone, it seemed, was having a great time. While simultaneously wondering where the hell Krystal was.

Zippy slipped into the booth, handing the drinks to the other too. She’d insisted on something non-alcoholic for Stitchy, worried about how it might affect her assembled system. Lizzy was dressed in a long black sleeveless dress, as usual looking like she was on her way to a funeral, or simply like Morticia Adams. Stitchy, on the other hand, was wearing a short mini skirt with black stockings and a sleeveless button up half top. The outfit exposed a lot of skin, and made Zippy feel a little wary of the looks her creation was getting.

It also made her slightly jealous, Stitchy’s boobs looked great in that top, and Zippy knew her small ones would never have looked that good. She shook off the unwelcome immature resentfulness and focused on something else.

Zippy looked around her, “No sign of Krystal?”

Lizzy shrugged, “She is not here, unless she’s hiding.”

“That’s odd,” Zippy said, “This whole excursion was her idea. She was so excited about it.”

“Maybe she sick? Or working on project?” Stitchy suggested.

“I guess so.” Zippy mused, “I’m just a little worried.”

“You always worried, Mom.” Stitchy rolled her eyes a little.

Zippy pursed her lips, “It’s just that . . . has anyone notice how fast Krystal has assimilated to her new identity since the surgery?”

Lizzy nodded, “I’ve noticed it. But if everything Kevin Crowsfeet was telling us about is true, it should be expected. She suddenly has a free pass out of her former life. It stands to reason that she would embrace it. Besides, what other choice does she have?”

Stitchy piped up, “Stitchy no know her when she was guy, but Stitchy notice Krystal always happiest when she with new friends. From what you tell Stitchy, Cristobel had no friends, just people he used. Stitchy think Krystal have what she secretly always wanted deep down.”

“I know, I know.” Zippy said, “I’m just wondering if this sudden change from lone ------- to bosom buddy might have left her more fragile then she should be.”

Stitchy took a sip of her drink, “She don’t seem that fragile to Stitchy.”

Lizzy nodded, “I understand your concern, but I don’t think we have anything to worry about.”

Stitchy added, “Besides, Mom doing this all wrong.”

“What do you mean?” Zippy raised an eyebrow.

“If you worried about Krystal.” Stitchy proclaimed, “Mom should talk to Krystal, no Stitchy and Lizzy.”

That was true, Zippy smiled a little at that. Stitchy had a blunt way of putting things, but sometimes you needed to hear the obvious. Still, Zippy wondered why Krystal had skipped out on something that had been so exciting to her a few hours earlier. It was ironic how Zippy couldn’t have given a damn what happened to Cristobel, but she now counted Krystal as one of her best friends.

Her train of thought was interrupted by the approach of a guy from school named Raj. He was a tall good looking guy from Indian descent who shared a couple of classes with zippy. He looked a little nervous and flustered as he approached the table. To Zippy’s surprise, he went up to Stitchy.

“Hi, Stitchy.” He said, uncharacteristically nervous, “W-would you care to dance?”

Instantly, Zippy got defensive. She opened her mouth to tell Raj to buzz off, when she was interrupted by Stitchy’s jovial response.

“Yes! Stitchy would love to dance.” Stitchy said, standing up her full six foot seven inch height; six foot nine in the heels she was wearing.

Raj smiled happily, “Great!”

Taking Stitchy by one massive hand, Raj led her to the dance floor, the frankengirl skipping behind him enthusiastically.

“Wait,” Zippy started, “Maybe you shouldn’t . . .”

But Stitchy was already gone, following Raj gleefully onto the floor. Zippy looked after them apprehensively, defensive and protective instincts welling up in her stomach.

“Lizzy, maybe we shouldn’t let her dance.” Zippy said, “If she’s not any good, she’d be humiliated. It could be detrimental to her development.”

“When have you even known Stitchy to get humiliated?” Lizzy asked, “She doesn’t have a shy bone in her body. I know, I helped put them there.”

“Yeah, but maybe she’ll have a bad experience, I don’t want her to get hurt.”

“It was your idea that she should come with us and experience this. Stop with the overprotective mother routine, it doesn’t suit you and you’ll give yourself wrinkles.”

“But I worry about her; she’s only been alive for a short while.”

“You don’t have to worry, take a look.”

Zippy looked over and saw that Stitchy was dancing happily with Raj. Not only was she dancing, but she was dancing really well. Despite her monstrous size, Stitchy moved fluidly and expertly, shaking her hips and moving her legs with confident movements, as if she had gone dancing a million times. And she had quickly attracted the gazes of other people in the room. She boogied gleefully, wiggling her body with moves that would have put Shakira to shame. And she did it with a shameless abandon that crackled with energy.

“How is she doing that?” Zippy wondered.

“The same way she knew how to save that girl in the hospital.” Lizzy reminded her, “Trace memories still embedded in her nervous system.”

Zippy pulled the small digital voice recorder she always carried out of her purse and spoke into it, “Subject again displaying advanced motor skills, excellent control of muscles and concise coordination. Umm . . . also excellent control of hips.”

Suddenly, Zippy stopped; several other guys had come over, and asked Stitchy to dance. Stitchy was giggling and talking with them, and it took a second for Zippy to realize that she was actively, and effectively, flirting with all of them. On full instinct, Zippy got up and started towards them. She only got a few feet before Lizzy grabbed her arm and stopped her.

“Take it easy, ‘Mom’, I told you: You’ll give yourself wrinkles.” Lizzy berated her.

“She might not be ready for this,” Zippy complained, “Maybe I should just chaperone her.”

Zippy attempted to pull out of Lizzy’s grip, but suddenly found Madoka grabbing her as well. She saw that Stitchy, unable to decide on a dance partner, was now simply switching off from one to the other, dancing a bit with one guy, then moving to the next. Zippy bit her lip, both worried and a little jealous. Stitchy seemed to be using that great cleavage Zippy had given her very well, and as usual Zippy felt self conscious about her own size. She bit her lip and pressed against the Lizzy and Madoka’s grip.

“I need to be there for her.” Zippy insisted, “What if one of those guys tries something inappropriate?”

“Stitchy could pound all of them into a pulp with one hand. What could they possibly try?” Madoka rolled her eyes, “Stop worrying about her and let her have her fun.”

Zippy looked at Stitchy. Her creation was smiling and laughing and having a good time, dancing her massive heart out. She did look like she was having a good time. Zippy was right, she shouldn’t spoil it for her. She just felt so protective of her; maybe it was her eternally optimistic attitude and joy for joy way of looking at the world. Or maybe it was just the fact that she was, in a very real way, Zippy’s own creation, her own child of sorts. But the over protective impulse just couldn’t help but rear its empty head.

Zippy relaxed and let the others pull her to the dance floor. She eased up and began to dance, starting have a good time herself. But she couldn’t help glancing at Stitchy and checking up on her every once in a while. And she couldn’t help looking around the room.

Where the heck was Krystal?

Roger Hortan came back to his down room in the school more then a little exhausted after a long study session. He’d been in the library, working on his next exam. He’d been letting it go for a while, and now was cramming at the last minute as usual. He was tired and bleary eyed now, and really just wanted to get into bed and go to sleep. He was not the best student in the world, and it was a lot of back breaking work to keep from becoming Madame Petri’s next ‘volunteer’. At the very least, his roommate was off somewhere working on a project, so he could be sure of some uninterrupted sleep.

He opened the door to his dorm room and walked in, not bothering to turn the light on, and closed the door behind him. The window let in enough moonlight so that he could see his way to the bed. He dropped his bags on the floor randomly, took off his jacket and tossed it in the general direction of the closet, and staggered over to the bed.

As soon as he got there, he knew something was amiss.

It wasn’t anything concrete, just a sudden feeling, like he was being watched. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and he felt a chill go down his spine. He glanced around the room, looking for whatever might be giving him this feeling. In the moonlight, everything seemed to be shadows, and every shape suddenly seemed a bit threatening.

He reached for the lamp on the desk, and that was when he smelled it.

It was a sudden overwhelming stench of ammonia, along with a distinct fishy odor that assailed his nostrils right away. He coughed and gagged as the smell seemed to coat the inside of his mouth. Looking around, he couldn’t see where it was coming from. He flipped the light on and gasped.

It was barely discernable in the low light, but SOMETHING crouched near the foot of his bed. It seemed to be vaguely human in shape, but more like a primate in its hunched posture. He could make out the writhing shape of tentacles all over the thing’s body as it hunched there, looking at him. The only aspect he could clearly see where it’s eyes, which reflected the light like a cat’s eyes, but were grotesque globular orbs, devoid of a pupil or iris.

The thing made a retching sound and vomited something out of its mouth. A thick sticky substance splattered over Roger’s face, covering his nose and mouth and keeping him from screaming. He tried to pull it off, clawing at with his hands as panic surged in him, the substance hardened to a bone like solidity instantly, and bonded to his skin like super glue.

As he tried to pull the suffocating mask off, the creature attacked him. Roger fought as the wet, rough arms grabbed him and kicked and punched like mad, trying to break the grip of the revolting creature. It was like the animal didn’t feel any pain at all. Roger almost gagged as he felt the slick, pulsing tentacles wrap around his body, but he willed himself not to vomit, knowing he would choke.

All at once, he was lifted off the floor. He twisted and tried to roll his body, fighting against the gripping tendrils, but they held him fast, and suddenly he was thrown across the room. He slammed hard into the window, the glass and pane shattering as his body flew through it. Shards of glass and splinters of wood nicked his skin and his blood ran cold as he found himself hurled out of his room on out to a three story drop.

He plunged downward, screaming into the mask on his face. He hit the ground feet first. More pain then he’d even know exploded into his body as his leg bones shattered upon impact. He fell to the ground, convulsions hitting his body. Unable to breath, he was getting dizzy.

He tried to drag himself forward, and that was when he saw them: Everywhere, things moved . . . crawled . . . OOZED towards him. Bizarre clicking and gurgling sounds filled the air as a dozen of those monsters surrounded him. He was grabbed and dragged helplessly along.

He felt the icy cold touch of water, and his last conscious thought was the realization that they were dragging him into the moat. He was pulled completely underwater, and dragged downward. Further and further down he went until the liquid blackness swallowed him whole.

Making her way down the hall, Krystal felt empty and hollow. She had stayed for hours on the floor, holding the distraught and despondent Miss Piranha in her arms. It had felt like an eternity and worse Krystal had felt completely helpless; there had been nothing she could do for her, except be there and hold her. She’d tried to say or do whatever she could, but she wasn’t sure if it helped or not. She cried quite a bit herself; the idea of losing Miss Piranha was tearing an unexpected hole in her heart.

At one point, she had even kissed her full on the mouth. Any other time, that would have seemed astonishingly inappropriate. But then it hadn’t seemed sexual or perverse just . . . what they both needed: As much comforting affection as possible.

Finally, Miss Piranha had calmed down enough that Krystal was able to take her back to her classroom and get her into the bed she sometimes slept in that was located in a room in the back of the class. She stayed by her side until she was sure Miss Piranha had finally fallen asleep, only then did she feel safe leaving her there.

She fingered the shark tooth pin on her uniform, thinking of the other guild members.

She’d missed the entire night out, but not unreasonably, it didn’t seem that important anymore. Looking at the time, she realized that everyone must be at the spa by now. After a moment’s thought, she headed that direction. After all, now that Miss Piranha was safe and sound for the night, there was no reason she couldn’t go and try to relax. She wasn’t going to do her teacher any good by being a ball of stress herself.

And truth be told, she didn’t want to be alone.

She made it to the spa area and entered the girl’s side, through the right hand door that led into the girl’s locker room. The wide round locker room was lined with shiny chrome lockers that opened and closed with the touch of a hand, as well as small non mechanical square shelves for those that didn’t want to bother. Most students hardly ever used the high tech ones since there was always a Werx guarding the place anyways.

Krystal could see that the others were already here as their clothes and purses were laid out on the shelves. Picking one near the other’s, Krystal placed her bag on the shelf and then began to undo the ties on her uniform. A few quick pulls and she pulled off her top and dropped her skirt to the floor. Sitting on a cushioned bench, she began to remove her stockings.

She wasn’t sure if she was going to tell the others about Miss Piranha’s cancer. True, Miss Piranha hadn’t told her to keep it a secret, but she may have wanted her to. After all, the only reason Krystal knew about it was because she’d found her lying there. She pursed her lips; it was a tough decision in and of itself.

She stood up and placed her stockings in the shelf. She reached behind herself with both hands and unhooked her bra in one quick motion. She had to smile a little: She had gotten quite good at that. It had used to be a real pain and she’d struggled finding the clasp every time. Now she unhooked it one two three. She slipped her bra off, letting her breasts fall out. It was always a bit of a relief taking it off at the end of the day.

She thought of her friends in the other room, that weird collection of eccentric geniuses. It might be a good idea to tell them, she thought. With all the unconventional thinking . . . well, she didn’t want to get her hopes up, but maybe they could help.

She took off her panties, stripping herself nude, and after putting them on the shelf, she headed into the spa. This was actually a really good idea, she released she was infinitely stressed out after the revelations about Miss Piranha. A little relaxation might help, at least let her think more clearly. She walked out of the locker room and into the spa itself.

She passed the massage tables where sever Werx stood ready should any student require a massage. They were made mostly of metal like the standard ones, but had soft latex covered hands to do their work. It looked inviting but Krystal passed them up and headed for the Jacuzzi. Her naked feet padded on the tiles and went into the room. There, sitting around as naked as she was were most of her friends.

The room was tiled with black and white patterned tiles all over the floor, flanked on the walls by wide benches. The wall, unlike the usual metal and rivets that marked much of the school, was a slate grey color. There were several different sized hot tubs built directly into the floor. The other girls were all in the largest one available, a wide sized tub that was shaped like a lima bean.

Zippy, Lizzy, The Farrell Twins, Madoka (at least it seemed to be her with her, Rina usually held her arms in front of her), Eve and Stitchy all sat soaking in the warm foaming bubbles. Krystal felt her face redden a little with heat. True, she had come to full accept herself as a girl, but there was still a bit of embarrassment and a tiny thrill at seeing them all naked together. Despite her transformation, and her new interest in guys, Krystal had not entirely abandoned an appreciation for women, and seeing the whole group like this still made her blush a bit. Even Stitchy, whom Krystal had helped assemble and had seen naked many a time.

Jetson sat by the side of the tub, his tentacles waving lazily.

Stitchy noticed her first, rising up her hand in greeting in her usual enthusiasm, “Hello, Krystal. Stitchy wonder where you were. Come join us, we miss you.”

Eve turned around, “There you are, where were you? This whole excursion was your idea I hear.”

“I . . . something came up.” Krystal said, “It was unavoidable.”

All the girls gestured for her to come over, encouraging her to join them. Krystal felt a swell of affection for her friends as she knew this was what she needed at the moment. Despite the lousy prick she’d been as guy, they’d all made her feel like one of them. She slipped into the warm bubbling water in between Stitchy and Eve, instantly feeling the soothing warm caress of the hot tub. Her muscles seemed to relax almost immediately.

“You missed it, Krystal.” Madoka chortled, “Stitchy was the hit of the dance, guys were falling all over each other to get on the floor with her.”

Lizzy said, “Yes and Zippy was the over protective stick in the mud.”

Zippy blushed as everyone laughed, “I was just concerned about her, some of those guys might not have had very good intentions.”

“Oh, I’d say they had all kinds of good intentions.” Madoka winked in Stitchy’s direction and the continued, “Besides, I keep telling you Zippy; Stitchy could have taken all of them apart with her bare hands; they weren’t going to try anything.”

“Oh, Stitchy no want to take boy apart.” Stitchy sang gleefully, “Stitchy want to hug boys and kiss them!”

“Okay, so they weren’t going to try anything Stitchy didn’t want them too.” Madoka corrected herself.

Everyone laughed happily, Krystal along with them. This was the kind of thing she had come to treasure as of late; the simple pleasures of being with her friends. Still, as the conversation continued, Krystal barely paid attention as her friends chattered on about classes and projects and other possible excursions in the future. Her mind continued to flow back to Miss Piranha and her cancer. She felt like she had to do something, but she had no clear idea what.

Again, she weighed the options of whether she should tell the others or not. It was obvious that Miss Piranha was hiding her affliction, hiding out in the storage room to cry the way she had been. But out of all her students, the Shark Tank Guild was closest to her. Again Krystal thought of the amount of brain power and radical thinking that this hot tub full of naked girls represented. Add the guys to that mix and you had a lot of innovation; did she dare hope that the Guild might be able to save Miss Piranha.

Looking across at Zippy, who was seated low in the water to cover up her undersized breasts, Krystal found her eyeing her with a bit of worry. Just like Zippy to notice that something was wrong with her. Very little got past her room mate, that was for sure.

Eventually, everyone got out of the Jacuzzi and headed for the steam room. The wide wooden room filled with warm steam almost instantly and the girls lay or sat on their towels, continuing their girlish conversations. Again, it was the sort of moment that Krystal felt very attached to, but brought down by the haunting specter of her inner crises. Krystal talked, but half heartedly and it felt hollow. Still, she was glad to be with all her friends. She probably could not have bared to be alone right now.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:18 PM   #4   [permalink]
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The room filled with steam and soon everyone had droplets of moisture clinging to their bare flesh. Lying around nude in the heat and steam, the girls chatted lazily about a variety of topics that tended to mesh nerdy scientific topics with ordinary girl talk; like weather or not their boobs would sag in long duration space flight.

The conversation took the turn it so often did at Madame Petri’s, and they began discussing future projects. Topics ranged from invisibility to home made space craft, and it had long been suggested that the entire guild cooperated on some kind of massive project. Figuring out just what was, however, was a problem as usual. As the gaggle of naked geniuses continued debating potential ventures, Krystal too a deep breath and seized the opportunity.

“I think we should develop a cure for cancer.” She declared quickly.

Everyone stopped talking and turned to look at her. The twins both yipped in surprise at the suggestion. Zippy narrowed her eyes at her, staring at her intently.

Katjia said, “That’s . . . ambitious, Krystal.”

Madoka chimed, “Yeah, Krystal, I applaud your boldness, but a cure for cancer has stumped the most brilliant teachers at this school. What makes you think we can do any better?”

Krystal gestured at Stitchy, “We’ve already have done better. The holy grail of mad science is taking a steam bath with us. Between the minds in this room, and rest of the Guild, I think we can do this: giants standing on the shoulders of giants so to speak.”

The others looked somewhat less then convinced and cast uneasy glances at each other.

Lizzy spoke up, “I don’t know, Krystal, what you are proposing is an incredibly difficult task. It could take a very long time before we find what we need, and we’d need to finish before the end of the year.”

Much quicker then that, from the sound of it, Krystal thought.

And then said, “Yes, but I really think we should work on a cure for cancer.”

Zippy leaned forward, concern on her face, “Krystal . . . do you have cancer?”

All eyes turned to her in shock. She couldn’t help but feel a little swell of pride that they all seemed genuinely distressed at the thought they might loose her, but she fought it down. That was the kind of thing she would have thought as Cristobel, but now she knew she had more important things to worry about. She looked at their faces, the worried expressions almost frightened expectations.

“No.” She assured them.

There was a collective sigh of relief from the group.

Krystal added, “. . . it’s Miss Piranha.”

The stunned silence that greeted the revelation could have been cut by a knife. Krystal began her story telling them about finding Miss Piranha crying and what had transpired, leaving out things she considered too personal but giving them the gist of it, telling them how she’d spent the whole night cradling the despondent teacher in her arms. When she was finished, she felt warm liquid trailing down her cheeks and realized that she was crying again.

She wasn’t the only one, the Twins were tearing up and looking at each other, and Stitchy had buried her large head her massive hands and was sobbing despondently. Zippy put an arm around her and patted her back. Suddenly the warm climate of the steam filled sauna felt like it was ice cold.

The silence was broken only by Stitchy mumbling, “No, Stitchy love Miss Piranha.”

After another long period of nothing, Zippy took a deep breath and declared, “Well, alright then: A cancer cure it is.”

Everyone looked at Zippy, questioningly. There was no objection to what she said, but just an air of doubt. Krystal realized that they all, herself included, were suddenly looking to Zippy for some shred of hope. Zippy was putting on a brave, steely face; but in her eyes, Krystal saw a hint of the same fear and uncertainty that plagued her. But with all eyes on her, Zippy was playing the role of leader all of a sudden, and burying her emotions.

Lizzy spoke up, “Do you really think we can do it?”

Zippy pursed her lips, “We have to try, if nothing else. But Krystal’s right: I don’t want to sound stuck up, but just three of us re wrote mad science as we know it and the result has her butt planted right here with us. Imagine what all of us can do if you put our minds to it, I think we owe it to Miss Piranha to at least give it a try.”

A quick glance to Lizzy and Krystal made a silent statement that they both understood: They also had the knowledge in the hidden library.

One by one everyone agreed; they would work on a cancer cure, and try to save Miss Piranha. It was a daunting task, but Zippy felt not only committed, but energized as well. As impossible as it seemed, Zippy felt a real tangible hope that the Shark Tank Guild could pull this off. After all, if they did this, they’d be saving Miss Piranha . . . and millions of others as well. As lofty goals went, you could do much worse.

After a long time they finally got up and headed back to the locker room to get dressed. As they went, Zippy found herself glancing over at Krystal frequently. She’d come a long way since her days as the self centered and egomaniacal Cristobel. Zippy couldn’t help but be impressed by the amount of compassion that Krystal had developed.

The massive, monstrous black eye bigger then Zippy’s head; bulged wide in shock. Megan’s huge mouth dropped open, six inch teeth and all as she heard the news. She floated in front of the window, as devastated as anyone else about the news. Her shark’s face was not made for expressing emotion, but the feeling was flowing off her just the same. Zippy could almost feel the shock and grief through the glass. She was sure, had Megan had tear ducts, she would have been crying. The sixty foot megalodon, that prehistoric killing machine, was devastated at the news of a friend’s illness.

“Miss Piranha . . . dying . . . I . . . can’t believe it.” Megan stammered through her implant, “She . . . she always comes to visit me. She was gonna be there when I have my pups.”

“Hopefully she still will be,” Said Zippy, “We’re going to working on a cure for her, but I don’t really know where to start.”

Zippy stood in front of the huge window that looked out into the massive, seemingly endless tank that housed the two gigantic megalodons. Jetson sat on her shoulder, moving his tentacles slowly as she reached up and absent mindedly stroked his cone. This solitude was what Zippy had craved after Krystal had dropped the bomb about Miss Piranha. As always, being at Megan’s tank help focus her thoughts.

Megan shook her massive head in despair, “Oh, Zippy, you’ve got to save her. This is horrible, I can’t believe it.”

Not unreasonably, Zippy knew exactly how Meagan felt. She felt wounded and hollowed out inside her self. The night had started out with so much fun, but the news of Miss Piranha’s illness now made everything feel just a little bit off. She was torn up; her heart feeling like it had been shredded. But she knew everyone was looking to her to lead, for better or for worse, and she kept a brave face on. But it was a porcelain mask that felt like it might shatter at any moment.

Suddenly, Zippy jumped back a little as another massive shape appeared in the window. Morgan made a rare appearance, rising up from out of the gloom and settling in next to his mate so fast that he actually scared Zippy a little bit. He spoke, his own implant flashing, in a voice that always comically reminded Zippy of Tom Selleck.

“Did I hear you right?” He asked abhorred, “Miss Piranha’s dying?”

All Zippy could do was nod silently.

“No! No! Why? Why her?” Morgan groaned, thrashing his massive head back and forth.

The anguish in Morgan’s voice, perfectly translated by his implant, stabbed Zippy right through the heart. She bit her lips, feeling sobs rising up in her own chest. She fought it down, keeping her cool. They all looked to her, she told herself, and she had to be strong for all of them. Even the massive sharks, as strange as that might sound.

“It’s horrible!” Megan moaned, her implant picking up on her emotions and rendering a voice that sounded for all the world like it was crying, even though Megan was incapable of the action, “I hate it! I hate this cancer thing! I wish cancer was something alive! Something I could tear apart with my teeth and save her . . . I wish . . . I wish . . .”

She trailed off, despondently. Morgan leaned in close and to Zippy’s surprise, nuzzled his mate with his nose. It was a display of affection Zippy rarely saw between the two giant sharks. It was almost human in its tenderness. Again Zippy felt tears well up within her. She fought them down, but it was getting harder.

“We’re going to work on a cure. Me and the other Shark Tank Guild members.” Zippy told them, “We’re going to try to save her, get everyone in on working on this. We are going to try as hard as we can.”

“Oh, Zippy! Please save her! Please!” Meagan begged her with heart rending hopefulness.

“I’ll try. We’ll do our best.” She told her, “But I don’t know where to start, and I don’t know . . . how much time we have . . .”

That was the biggest problem: Miss Piranha could easily die before they found their cure.

That was it, she lost it. Zippy’s knees buckled beneath her and she fell against the glass of the tank. There no fighting the flood of emotions, Zippy broke down and let out an anguished cry, tears flooding down her cheeks, her body wracked with sobs of grief and despair. Her cries echoed in the empty hallway. Emotions swirled within her in a wild tempest: Fear, grief, and anger. So much anger. Miss Piranha had been the only one there for her when she’d first come to Madame Petri’s, she’d been the only one to support her. Now this cruel, amoral world was sentencing her to a slow, painful death. Zippy hated, hated the whole universe for what it had done to her teacher. She slammed her fist hard against the glass, feeling a jolt of pain surge up her arm. Her anger was in danger of overwhelming her, but her grief was doing that already.

She felt Jetson’s tentacles grip on her tighter, and she realized he was hugging her.

“Please don’t give up, Zippy.” Jetson said, quietly, “Please don’t give up.”

As her sobs eased up, she opened her eyes and looked up. She saw that Megan and Morgan had lowered their heads to where she was pressed against the window, and were moving their heads back and forth. They were trying to nuzzle her, Zippy realized, like they had with each other. They knew, of course, that they couldn’t nuzzle her through the glass. With another pang of her heart, Zippy realized that they simply didn’t know what else to for her.

Tears still streaming down her face, Zippy threw her arms wide against the glass, mimicking a hug, crying in great sobs as emotions spilled out of her in an uncontrollable deluge. Her dangerous anger subsided, replaced instead by pure undiluted anquish.

Together in the long empty hall of the tank room, human, squid and sharks expressed their sorrow to each other.

It was hours later that Zippy finally left Megan and Morgan’s tank. After her breakdown, she felt more focused; and much more determined. Unfortunately, it didn’t really make her feel all that better, and her thoughts as she walked down the hallways were haunted by the specter of loosing Miss Piranha. And the pressure was already starting to mount: As soon as Krystal had let them know of the situation, everyone had looked to her for leadership. It hadn’t occurred to Zippy before, but as the highest rated student in the school, she had stepped into the role of de facto leader of The Shark Tank Guild.

She felt a little guilty about that; the whole secret of her success hinged on her access to the hidden library and its contents. Sure, not everyone could have put the knowledge contained in those books to good use, but still it felt like cheating. Madame Petri’s didn’t really care about cheating that much, everything was about results, but still there was that twinge of guilt. But then again, she’d cheat a hundred times if it kept her out of Madame Petri’s experiment program, whatever the hell she was doing to the students in there. Zippy still found Petri’s absence from the school more then a little odd, if not downright suspicious.

She ran one hand over the other and winced. She had a nasty bruise on her hand where she slammed it into the tank’s glass. No smart, Zippy. Not good. You don’t want your anger getting the better of you.

Jetson spoke up on her shoulder, “Zippy, are you feeling better?”

“A little bit, yeah.” Zippy replied affectionately, “Why?”

“Because you’re going the wrong way.” Jetson informed her.

Zippy stopped and realized that she had passed up the right turn and was now walking out onto a catwalk running across and long circular shaft. This was the same catwalk she had chased Katjia and Nadjia across was they perused Jetson back on her first day at Petri’s. God, how long ago that felt; like it was a different life. Well, she knew how to get back from here.

She peeked down over the railing, and saw the large metal box that sat so far down below on the floor of the shaft, with the square holes covered with metal mesh. The box, whatever it was, still looked like a jail cell to Zippy. It almost creeped her out, thinking what they might be keeping in there. She narrowed her eyes looking at the box.

She had thought, for a second, that she had seen movement inside. She continued looking at it, but could see no further movement within. Damn, it looked so much like a prison, but who or what could they be keeping in there? She shuddered a little bit looking at it, and couldn’t shake the feeling that she was missing something about it, something she should be putting together, as if there was puzzle to be solved and she didn’t even know it. After a time, she continued on her way back to her dorm room.

Once she was back in the school proper and walking past the empty classroom, she stopped when something else caught her attention: The sounds of quiet sobbing coming from one of the other classrooms. She stopped, at first not sure which direction it was coming from. After a time, she pinpointed the location, a medium sized room off to her right. She hesitated and then started towards the room, still hearing the sobs.

It had to be Miss Piranha, Zippy thought, she must have broke down again. But what was she doing way down here? She came into the room, gently pushing open the door. The room was dark, and she stayed where she was letting her eyes adjust. She spied the outline of what looked like a crouched figure, shaking as it sobbed miserably. She took a tentative step forward. She slipped her hand into her pocket and gripped the noggin bobber just in case.

“Is someone there?” She asked, rather lamely.

“Go away!” The voice screeched, “Leave me alone!”

Zippy blinked in surprise: It wasn’t Miss Piranha, that was for sure, but she didn’t recognize the voice. It sounded familiar, however. Zippy took another step forward.

“Do you need some help?” She asked the shape, “Are you hurt?”

“Zipperdale?!?” The voice hissed, “Leave me alone, haven’t you done enough already?”

Now the voice rang a bell, although it was slightly different: It was Charity Milquetoast. Zippy remembered Krystal mentioning that Rick hadn’t been able to find her, and come to think of it, Zippy hadn’t seen her all day.

Charity sobbed pathetically, “Why did you do this to me? Why? What did I ever do to you to deserve this?”

Did she want that alphabetically, or in order of occurrence? Zippy sarcastically thought, but she held her tongue.

Instead she said, “Charity is this about the burns? They should have healed by now; you should let me take a look at them.”

“Who cares about burns?” Charity shouted angrily, “I . . . I can’t be seen like this.”

Zippy reached over to the light but Charity’s agonized shriek stopped her.

“No! Don’t look at me!” She wailed, “Please, I don’t want you or anyone else to see me like this! I’m so ugly. Ugly!”

She dissolved into uncontrollable wails of despair. Zippy’s finger hovered over the light switch, wondering if she should honor Charity’s request to leave the light out. Hell, Charity had done enough vicious underhanded things to Zippy, maybe she should just leave her to whatever fate she had encountered. Let her stay hidden in the dark, alone and miserable. Anger welled up in her, and Zippy quickly fought it down. For all her smarts, Zippy knew there was a mindless beast inside her sometimes, and letting her anger get the better of her led to . . . bad things.

She flipped on the light.

Charity shrank back, covering her face with her hands and crouching behind a large desk, letting out a frightened sob. Zippy’s mouth dropped open in complete shock as she saw her.

“You did this to me, didn’t you?” Charity shrieked in a bizarre mixture of rage and sorrow, tears in her . . . were those eyes?

“How the hell would I do this to you?” Zippy breathed, astonished by what she was looking at.

Charity’s skin was a dull gray color all over. Her hair, once brunette, was now a grayish brown shade but retained her wavy curls. Her eyes were three times as big as they had been before, and zippy could detect no iris or pupils in the shining silver orbs which seemed to glow faintly in the light. Her ears had elongated and now rose into points through her hair and above her head. In her mouth, she could see that Charity’s canine teeth had elongated until the resembled Eve’s fangs. She seemed to be permanently hunched over on all fours. There were only three fingers and a thumb on each hand, and all her digits were twice as thick as normal. Her legs now sported and double jointed look similar to a dog’s hind legs, and ended in what could only be described as large animal paws similar to a bear’s feet. To cap it all off, a long fleshy tail, similar to a possum’s but flexible like a cat’s trailed out from under her skirt, swishing back and forth.

Charity Milquetoast was no longer entirely human.

Jeepers! This is Vixen talking. And I’m telling you a little bit about next chapter. Jeepers, Zippy and her friends get to work on saving Miss Piranha’s life while figuring out what happened to Charity. And Krystal gets the visit she’s been dreading in the next chapter of Zippy Zipperdale: Moderately Mad Scientist, “The Tenth Experiment”.

Jeepers! I’ve got it!
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