Jason stood at attention as the CO walked around him and the rest of his unit stood at attention behind him. Jason stole a few glances at them. They were definitely not your standard military types. Though they all look like perfect soldiers, something in the pit of his being told him something was different about them. Something that made them as different as he was. For some strange reason, this made him feel at home, unlike his old unit that always made him feel out of place. Try as he might, he had no idea why, and this unnerved him.
The CO suddenly stood in front of his face and Jason resumed looking at a blank spot on the far wall. The room was quite plain. Large, square metallic plates lined the walls and covered the door at the far side, which made it almost impossible to see. He still could not figure out where the light came from. He saw no light source of any kind. This only made the mystery greater.
The CO read the transfer papers once more, then held them behind his back. Standing only a few inches from his nose, the CO said, “So, someone up there thinks you have what it takes to make it in this unit. Says here you're a heavy weapons expert.” He pointed to the largest and most muscular of his men. “We got one already. What makes you think we need another?”
Jason stared straight at the CO. “Because I'm the best, Sir.” He knew it to be true. He has yet met anyone in the military where they could out-use him, out build or out clean him in heavy weapons.
The CO chuckled. “Cocky aren't you, son? Well, your service record shows that. Top of your class for heavy weapons. It even says that you have a natural aptitude for them.” He turned to the other heavy weapons expert. “Looks like you got competition, Stone.” The soldier simply snorted as if amused.
The CO smiled as he turned to him. “He's not intending on getting replaced just quite yet.” He read the transfer papers once more. “Well, even though these papers says these transfer orders are immediate, you still have to past my test first. I get final say on who joins my unit, no matter what these orders say.” Jason nodded but was a bit confused. “This test will tell me if you got what it takes to fit in with the rest of my unit. If everyone can fit well together, then they work well together. At the same time, I'll get to find out if you're as good as you say.”
That made sense to him. A unit that worked well together was a good unit. That was the first thing thought in boot camp. The CO turned to the rest of his unit. “Get ready.” He then turned to Jason again. “Computer. Initiate New Recruit Training Program.”
Suddenly, the lights turned off except for one shining right on top of Jason. The sudden change in lighting condition blinded him. The CO's voice echoed throughout the room. “If you're wondering, you're being tested. My unit has to be ready for anything, at anytime.”
Jason's training kicked in as he hunched himself down. Not having any weapons on his body, he needed to rely on his hand to hand combat training. Unfortunately, this was not his best skill. Not taking any chances, he moved away from the light, using the darkness as his cover. Not knowing what to expect next, he decided to wait to see where the first attack would come from. He listened quietly for any sound that might indicate where it might come from.
He heard a soft growl to his left. A growl? Am I fighting an animal? He carefully looked around for anything as his eyes finally adjusted to the darkness. Unfortunately, he could only see a couple of feet in front of him. The growling grew louder and much closer. He wondered what they pitted him against, a lion maybe? Whatever it was, it now circled around him, from the sound of the growling. He tried best to keep facing the growling sound. Jason now figured out that the growl sounded like a panther, though deeper, as if a human growled.
Without warning he felt something rip through his back. He screamed in pain as he instinctively turned, whirling his fist. Instead of connecting, a hairy hand gripped his wrist. No, a furry hand? His eyes adjusted to a dark figure, covered in fur. Its eyes shone bright yellow as it bared its white fangs to him. What the hell is this thing? This is a test? Jason tried to pull back as fear took over but the figure held him tightly. With a loud growl, a fist flew to his stomach.
Jason gripped his stomach in pain as he doubled over and fought to get air in his lungs. Slightly disoriented, he tried to rise to his feet, only to feel claws grip his hair. They jerked his head up painfully and he was one more face to face with the creature. “I thought you'd have more balls.” It growled which caught Jason by surprise. This creature could speak perfect English. What did he get himself into this time? What the hell is going on around here? This can't be a test! The creature's free hand gripped his balls tightly and squeezed as the claws dug into his flesh.
Yelling in pain, Jason swung a fist at the creature's stomach. It roared and loosened its grip on his hair. Jason pressed his advantage and slammed his forehead on its muzzle and it released him. Seeing the creature stunned, he landed an upper cut on its jaw, and it recoiled back, roaring even louder in agony. Jason continued to press his advantage and he grabbed its shoulders, rolled on his back and threw it over him with his feet. He saw the creature fly a few feet and heard it land heavily in the darkness. Jason looked around as he breathed heavily, trying to figure out if the creature would counter attack. He heard nothing.
Suddenly, an echoed click ran through the room as a beam of light shone down on another creature. This time, it resembled a walking lion. Jason took a step back as another beam of light shone down on him. The lion creature smiled. “Very good.” It purred loudly. “No one ever defeated him so easily.” Jason took the time to look over the lion. It stood on its hind legs slightly taller than he did. Its entire body resembled that of a walking lion though it had a humanoid torso. The strange thing was that there was something familiar about it. To his surprise, the clothing was of military style, and looked exactly like that of the CO. If this is a disguise or a costume, that other creature sure felt real. And how could the CO change his voice like that?
Suddenly, the lion-creature lunged at him, claws aiming for his throat. Jason instinctively grabbed the paws and rolled on his back, throwing the lion over him with his legs. He saw the creature smile as it grabbed his shoulders and rolled on its back, throwing him this time. He flew a few feet as he tried to steer himself. He managed to land on his feet heavily, shooting pain up his body.
The creature lunged at him again. This time, Jason leapt in the air, and pushed himself over the lion's head, forcing the creature to slam its jaws on the floor. Landing behind it, Jason stood his ground. He waited for the creature to rise. Who or what are these things?
The lion growled furiously and it glared at him. Wiping the blood that spilled from its jaw, it slowly rose to its hind legs. “I'm impressed human. No human made me bleed before. Now watch me make you bleed!” With that, it reached for him.
Jason grabbed its paws with his own hands and pushed back. Both were now pushing against each other, pitting their strength against each other. Jason knew he lost the battle even before it started. Obviously, this creature had the strength of a lion and maybe even more. Slowly, his wrist started to strain as the pain shot up his hand, through his wrist and up his forearms. Even with the pain, he would not give up without a fight. Jason gained some grounds at first, which made the creature smile. The creature growled softly and Jason started to lose the ground he made. The pain in his wrist and forearms ripped though his mind like fire. The more he fought back the more pain shot in his mind. Still, he fought back.
“I'm impressed, human. You're the first I've met who ever fought back for so long.” He grinned and flashed his fangs. “Give up. I can smell your pain. You know as well as I do that you can't win.”
Jason shook his head as he glared back in defiance and pushed with every last ounce of strength he had left. Still the creature gained the upper hand. His mind seared in pain and his legs slowly gave and he finally collapsed on his knees. The lion towered over him, grinning. “I told you human. Your struggle is futile. Give it up! You can't win.”
Suddenly, the pain vanished as a new sensation filled his body. He felt his strength return and to the lion's surprise, he rose back to his feet. The lion's grin quickly vanished as it redoubled its efforts and growled furiously.
The sensation slowly spread throughout Jason's body and he felt a new strength awakening within himself. He felt his body shift and change and to his great surprise, he saw the lion shrink. No, he felt himself grow taller. Not only taller, but also larger. To his even greater surprise, his skin slowly turned to a light shade of grey as his hands grew and swallowed those of the lion's. His body kept growing until he towered over the stupefied lion, which by now, stopped fighting. Jason took the element of surprise and threw the lion aside, like a rag doll. The lion's strength and weight meant nothing to him. The lion's body vanished in the darkness, and he clearly heard it slump on the ground and groan in pain. Not only was his strength augmented, so was his hearing.
Jason took the time to look himself over. Looking at his hands and body carefully, he realised his skin was now thick and a grey white colour. His new size ripped his clothing, as his military pant looked more like military underwear on him and his tank top ripped to shreds by his new size. Looking further lower his body, his feet now resembled like that of an elephant. He hesitantly touched his face and felt two large horns on his… muzzle? Two Horns? A muzzle? What the hell is happening here? I'm a … Rhino?
Jason hollered in pain as something slashed at his back. To Jason's astonishment and relief, it hurt less than the first time. Turning around, he now faced a large bruin. Jason tried to swipe at it, but his new size made him too slow and the bear nimbly jumped back. Now, he felt the uncontrollable urge to charge the bear and he decided to go with it. With surprising speed, he closed the gap between them and felt his head connect straight on with the bear's chest. The bear flew in the air, slammed its back onto the wall and slid down, unconscious.
Another loud click echoed through the room as Jason turned to now face a huge horse creature. It stood as tall as he did, and seemed as thick too. Before he could charge it, a roar echoed through the room. “Enough.” The lion creature reappeared in front horse. “This test is over. Computer. End Program.” Light instantly flooded the room and blinded Jason. After a few seconds, he was able to see again.
Now, all the creatures he fought stood behind the lion, all at attention, with the bear having the most problem standing straight. Jason finally realised that all these creatures were wearing the exact same uniforms as the team he just met. He had no idea what was going on anymore or what the point of this test was. “What's going on here?” He needed answer and he needed them now.
The lion moved in front of him and met his gaze. “You passed your test.”
“Test? What test? What's going on here? What did you do to me?”
“Nothing. What happened to you was natural.”
Jason could not believe his ear. “This is natural?” He looked at himself. “Turning me into a monster?”
The lion shook his head. “Not a monster, but gifted like all of us.”
Now, Jason was totally lost. “What? Who are you?”
“Watch.” The lion took a step back and roared. The rest of them followed suit and roared or yelled. Their bodies shifted as fur turned to skin, and claws and hooves turned to hands and feet. To Jason's wide-eyed astonishment, they changed back into humans. The horse and bear creature shrank considerably in size, while the last two stayed the same. Finally, they stopped transforming, and now humans stood where once creatures use to. This can't be happening. I must be in the Twilight Zone!
The lion creature, now his CO, opened his eyes and stretched his arms. “You never quite get used to the transformation.” He took a few deep breaths. “You're a Kindred, like us. You're one of the Werelings. Like the myth of the werewolves, you have the ability to change into an animal form, and gain its strengths and abilities. In your case, you gain the abilities of a rhino.” He pointed to the left. “Take a look.”
Jason turned and a glass mirror materialized right in front of him. A floating mirror? Why not. I just saw walking and talking animals. He looked at the reflection. He could not believe what he saw. Where he stood, a large rhino like creature stared back at him. He moved closer to the mirror, still not believing his own eyes. “Is that me?” The only things familiar in that reflection were the eyes. His own eyes. Everything else about that reflection seemed to belong to something else.
His new CO moved besides him. He seemed so small compared to his size. “Yes.”
Jason touched the face, and felt his hand touch him. “How?”
“No one really knows. All that we know is that it's a part of you as much as your human form is.”
Jason continued to touch his face, still not believing what he saw. One minute he was a human and now, the mirror reflected a rhino creature. He knew it was more than an illusion since the two horns on his muzzle felt quite real to his hands.
The CO looked up. “I know it's a lot kid. We've all been through it.” He looked at the rest of the group. “My name's John. I'm obviously the leader. Code name: Fang.”
The human-panther guy stepped forward. “I'm Maurice. Sniper and Infiltration expert. Code name: Black.”
The bear-human simply nodded. “Albert. Explosives and Demolition. Bruno.”
The Stallion-human smiled and looked him up and down. “I'm Rick. Heavy weapons like you. Code name: Stone.”
They all stood there, quietly, waiting for him to say something. He was at a loss for words though, as he looked at himself again. He knew he was different, though he did not believe this different. To his great surprise though, he felt somehow comfortable about this, as if he finally fit in somewhere in this crazy world. I'm a walking and talking Rhino and I think the rest of the world is crazy?
John turned back to him. “Before you answer, there's something else you should know about us.”
Maurice walked up besides John and wrapped his arms around him as both kissed passionately. This took Jason by a total surprise. “What are you doing?”
Maurice laughed. “Kissing, silly. What do you think?”
Jason stared in amazement. “I though we weren't suppose to be open about that stuff in the army.”
John shook his head. “We are a special, unit. Very special unit. So, we get a few liberties. Like you, Maurice and Rick are gay. Al and I are bisexual.”
Jason blinked. “How did you… know?” He made sure to be careful that no one could figure out he was gay. Being in the army was hard enough, being gay in the army was nearly impossible. He made sure he refrained from doing or saying anything that might peg him as gay. So, how did he figure it out?
John smiled. “I do my research. Being bisexual myself, I know what one does to make sure no one else finds out. The reason I'm telling you this now is I want to know if you'll be comfortable working with us. If you don't, our team won't work well. You're not the only one I've tested, but you're the only one to pass and might feel comfortable working with the rest of us. That is, if you want to join.” All eyes landed on Jason.
This was too strange to be real; but, the proof stared right back at him. This was too real to be true, but, for some strange reason, this appealed to him. For the first time in his life, he felt as if he belonged, as if he found what he has been looking for, as if he had a purpose. This is way weird. But, here I am, a ten foot tall rhino, talking to other were beings. And all of them gay too. There was nothing more to think about. His mind told him this was not real, but his gut told him the opposite. He decided to follow his gut. “All right. I'll join.”
John smiled. “Good. Rick will show you the ropes and help you in your training, since both will do the same type of job. Take the rest of the day to get yourself familiar with the facilities, then meet us in the mess hall.” He turned to the rest of the team. “Dismissed!”
Albert was the first one to leave, without saying another word. Maurice and John left together, arms in arms, Maurice giggling. Only Rick and himself stayed behind. Rick smiled as he examined him. “You need help in changing back?”
Jason laughed uneasily. “Ya. I still don’t know how I changed in the first place. It just kinda happened.”
Rick smiled. “It's the same for all of us the first time. You'll get to do it voluntarily with our training. Don't worry about that.”
“Good.” Jason hesitated for a moment and Rick looked back, seeing he wanted to say more. “Rick. What would have happened if I said I didn't want to join.”
Rick's expression darkened. “Trust me kid, you don't wanna know.”
Jason took a deep breath as he saw Rick's expression. The alternative seemed quite unpleasant. “Well, I know I did the right choice.”
Rick nodded. “I think so too kid.”
Rick spent the next few hours helping Jason revert back to his human form. After many unsuccessful attempts, Jason finally managed to turn into a human again. The next day and for the following two weeks, Rick helped Jason control his transformation. Once Jason managed a reasonable control over his transformation, physical training started. Rick pushed him hard, harder than any previous drill sergeants. At the same time, Rick taught him the ins and outs of all the heavy artillery they used. The training and learning left Jason with little time to do much else.
After the fourth intense training session, Rick decided to shower at the same time as Jason. This was Jason's first look at Rick's, naked equine form. Jason thought his naked rhino form impressive, but Rick was twice as impressive. Muscles flexed and relaxed under the short black fur as he lathered himself up. His tail draped over his round muscular butt. His shaft, the largest shaft he ever saw, hung limply over his balls. He had to restrain himself from staring too long and getting an erection. Still, Jason took all the opportunities he could to steal a glance. Even though Rick was gay, he had no idea if he was taken. Jason spent the rest of the night fantasizing about Rick, and taking care of his hard on.
It took Jason a month to get a grip on all the new weapon statistics and get used to the heavy training. By that time, Jason found himself having more free time, which he spent most of it lounging in the recreational room watching TV. There was little more he could do, as the rest of the team were on different training schedule than his. One night, as he was watching boring reruns, Rick walked into the recreation room and asked him if he would like to shoot some pool. Jason was more than happy for the diversion and change from watching TV. They spent the rest of the night, shooting pool and chatting. Jason realized that he had more in common with Rick than simply an interest in heavy weapons. More importantly, he found out Rick was single.
From that day on, they spent every waking moment together, and Jason enjoyed every second of it. For the first time in his life Jason felt accepted, as if he finally fit in. At the same time, Jason lust for Rick, turned to a silent crush, to deep feelings for him. Jason dared not say anything to Rick. Though they talked a lot, for some reason, the topic of relationship never came up. Rick seemed to avoid the topic all together. Many a nights Jason wondered if Rick felt the same way he did; but, he could only admire him from a distance.
Two month after Jason first met this team, Rick deemed him ready for his first mission.
Jason crawled in the thick undergrowth. The large leaves of the surrounding foliage easily hid his body as he crawled up besides Stone. Fang crawled back followed by Bruno, both wearing camouflage uniform like himself and Stone. Then again, in this dense jungle, even if they wore bright colours, he doubted anyone would spot them during the day, let alone at night.
Fang lifted up the night vision goggles. “Now, we just wait for Black before we move.” He paused for a moment to shift his weapons. Jason took the time to look over his own weapons. When he thought of heavy weapons, he had no idea they would be like this. A magnetic rail gun and a photon cannon. Stone also carried the same heavy weapons. Even with his two months of training, he barely understood the concepts of these weapons, even though, he could take them apart, clean them and put them back together as fast as Stone. On top of that, he could only carry them in his were form. Everyone else in the team were also in their were form. Fang believed it gave them the edge. Jason could not argue from the experience he had in his ‘initiation.’
Fang looked back for a second, then back to his group. “Remember, this is just a reckon job. We get in, look around, get a few pictures, and get out. No hero work.” This sounded simple enough for Jason. “Stone and Rhino will check out storage and weapons locker. Black and I will check out research. Bruno will stay behind and get a distraction ready in case we need it.”
Jason looked over to Stone, who smiled back. “Up to us to look at them weapons. I doubt they're any better than these.” Stone lifted his rail gun over his shoulder.
Fang turned back towards the building. “Well, that's what you're going to find out, Stone.”
Jason nodded as he tried to remember the floor plan of the base. Might as he tried, he could barely remember any part of it. Good thing Stone had a much better memory. Jason looked over to Stone again, and found himself unable to stop looking. He found himself doing a lot of that lately. He had to admit that he never though he would find any creature like that interesting, but he was. I guess once you learn you’re a Wereling, the views on what you find attractive changes.
A rustling in the brush in front of them made the entire unit draw their weapons. “Hold up, guys, it’s just me.” The head of a black panther stuck out as everyone put their weapons back.
Jason could see a small change in Fang's eyes, relieved that Black returned unharmed. Fang and Black tried to remain professional during training exercises and missions. Still, they looked at each other with love and both worried whenever the other worked alone. No one dared to point that out though. “Black, what did you find?” Fang managed to keep his tone professional.
Black picked up his sniper gun. “Minimal guards. I guess either most are inside, or they think no one would bother them this deep in the jungle. All mercs too.”
Fang nodded. “Let's assume most are inside.” He turned to everyone. “You all know what to do. And just because they're mercs, it doesn't mean they're not pros.” With that, he leaned forward and kissed Black with passion. Black purred loudly as he melted in his arms.
Jason blinked as he looked at Stone. “I thought they kept professional.”
Stone smiled. “They do. But, they always kiss before starting a mission. They say it gives them luck.”
Jason nodded and he wondered how Stone would react if he kissed him there and then. He opted not to, unsure on how he would react. Stone smiled back as he saw him looking. “Let's go, Rhino.”
With that, the unit split up. Jason followed Stone closely behind as they crawled toward the building. Jason took the time to examine it. It looked like a simple building without any windows or doors on this side. The outer wall seemed composed of poured concrete. He saw no doors on this side of the building. On its roof sat five satellite dishes, each pointing in a different direction towards the sky. “I guess everyone inside is a couch potato.” Jason whispered.
Stone looked back and whispered, “I wish. It looks more like they got heavy tech equipment.”
Both easily made their way to the building without seeing a single guard. Jason thought this strange. “Stone. This is too easy.”
“Relax kid. Like Black said, they probably think this is so isolated no one noticed it. And because it's so deep in the jungle, there's no need to defend it heavily.”
Jason shook his head. “Stone, I find everything about this entire mission strange. Fang told us almost nothing about this place and what they're doing. We don't even know if this is a private or government building. Or, for that matter what country they work for.”
Stone looked back. “You know it's not our place to question. We just follow orders!” Jason nodded as he took a deep breath and pushed those questions aside again. Stone was right; it was not his place to question orders. Stone added, “but, I'm wondering about the same thing kid.”
Just as Stone finished, two armed guards rounded the corner. Stone and Jason quickly ducked behind a bush and watched the guards approach. Neither guard spotted them, most likely too engrossed in their conversation. Both guards approached and stopped a foot away from their location. Jason looked at Stone, wondering if they got spotted. Stone signalled to stay calm. Jason silently took a deep breath and focused on the guards. Both wore loose fitting, camouflage uniforms and carried weapons that resembled large Uzi’s.
The first guard took out a cigar and lit it. “I still can't believe that egg head is growing in there. When I saw those thing in the tubes, I nearly freaked!”
The second guard unzipped his pants and took a leak just to the right of them. “I thought all that stuff was sci-fi or in the X-Files. It's amazing what those guys can do these days.”
The first man kept a lookout. “Well, I still find it disgusting. Mixing human and animals like that. It ain’t natural. You think they let guys sleep with animals, or animals sleep with gals?”
The second zipped up and picked up his weapon. “Your sick, man! Anyhow, were not paid to think or give opinions. Were paid to protect them.”
The first laughed. “From what? The monkeys?” The second joined in the laugher and both walked away.
Jason remained quiet for a moment and turned to Stone. “What was that all about? Mixing human and animals? What do you think they meant?”
Stone rose as he started uncovering the air vent. “Don't know, Rhino. Don't care too. We’re here to look at what armament they have. Not figure out what the scientists are doing. That's Black and Fang's job.” Jason nodded and agreed. Still, he wondered what type of research they did in there.
Stone took no time to remove the air vent, and Jason was quite surprised to find it large enough for Stone and him to fit in it. He figured that the vent must be used to cool more than just this small building. Something was obviously amiss here. But like Stone said, it was not his place to think about it.
Both entered the air vent, placed back the grill and made their way though the narrow and metallic passage way as warm air blew around them. Jason followed Stone through the maze of air vents. “Good thing you memorized the map.”
Stone chuckled. “One of us had to.”
Both continued through the maze for a short while and they arrived at their destination. From the way the ducts sloped downwards, Jason guessed they were deep underground by now. Just how big is this place? They looked down the air vent and saw no one in the hallway below. Stone opened up the vent and Jason dropped down first. He quickly looked around and found no one or cameras. This was either a low security area, or they were in so deep, they thought security was of no use. He stood watch as Stone dropped down and put back the vent cover. Looking around more carefully, he noticed the walls, floor, and ceiling were painted pure white. Jason blinked a few times as he tried to tell where the walls ended and the floor or ceiling started. They walked to the opposite end, where two doors sat.
“Two doors? This wasn't in our intelligence,” Stone commented. Both doors held a ‘U’ shaped handle made of a thick metal compound while a complex key-lock system hung on the left side of both doors. Strange symbols marked the buttons on the key pad instead of the standard numbers. It seemed to require a magnetic passkey and symbol key sequence. Neither of them recognized the symbols. “And neither were these security pads.”
Jason smiled. “I guess our intelligence is not that intelligent.”
Stone groaned. “Well, we anticipated this.” He took out a small electronic device with a data cable attached to a pass card. He inserted it in the security slot and punched a few buttons on his device. Symbols flashed on its display for a few seconds and showed a sequence. “There we go.” He did the same thing with the other door. Once done, he put the device away. “So, now our problem is, which door?”
Jason looked at both of them. “Why don't we split up and each take a door?”
Stone looked at both doors and thought for a moment. “All right kid. You take the left, I'll take the right. Just remember, don't be a hero. I'd be a shame to lose ya before I got to know you better.” Stone gave him a warm smile and winked.
Jason blinked, taken by surprise by his words. He wondered if Stone mean more than what he simply said. He took a deep breath and punched the sequence of symbols. The door unsealed and opened slightly. Both Stone and Jason pushed their doors at the same time and carefully walked in.
Jason found himself in a large room filled with strange equipment. Large, green liquid filled tubes lined both the left and right wall while at the centre and far wall, and large computer control panels flashed and beeped. Jason quickly took a look around and found no one. Carefully, he moved towards the centre consoles and examined them. Obviously, this is not the weapons locker. Looking closer, he found a graphical display for every tube in the room. On each display, a dot raced across the screen as it rose and fell to the sound of a beep. A heart monitor? Other various bio-readings flashed on the screen. Jason felt he walked into an episode of Star Trek. He thought their training room was sophisticated; but, it was nothing compared to this.
He moved back and took a closer look at one of the tubes. His eyes almost popped out of his head at what they contained. A human floated in the tank with a breathing mask around his mouth and nose. He floated there, seemingly in a sleeping or unconscious state. He looked at the second tube beside it and found another man inside, though this time, in a flux of being changed. He seemed to have some wolfish features. He saw two small fangs, a slight muzzle and wolfish ears. The third tube contained another human, though this one looked more like a werewolf. His face was half human, half wolf, and his hands and feet were in the same state. Actually, his entire body looked half man-half wolf, as a tail started to grow from the back of his butt. What he saw in the fourth tube shocked him even more. In it floated a fully changed human, in this case, a rhino like him. It almost seemed as if he were looking into a mirror image of himself. He lumbered over to the other side and examined the other four tubes. In each tube floated a copy of his team members. What the heck is going on here?
“Well, well, well… what have we here?” Jason whirled around, his weapon drawn and aimed at the intruder. “Whoa there. I'm only an unarmed scientist.”
Jason focused on his target. A balding man in around his fifties wearing a long white lab coat stood in front of another door Jason missed. The man examined at him back through a thick pair of glasses. He set down a pad on a table to his left as he readjusted his glasses. The man looked harmless enough, but looks could be deceiving.
“What? You got nothing to say?” The man smiled as he walked towards him and examined him, unafraid of his weapon. Jason felt as if he was being examined under a microscope.
Jason aimed his weapon at the scientist, who ignored it. He tried to squeeze the trigger, but his hand froze. Try as he might, he could not squeeze it. His mind told him to shoot, but his body would not move. “Who are you?”
The man shook his head. “My, my… how soon they forget.” The man moved in front of him and removed his glasses. “I'm your father.”
“Your father.” He smiled. “Well, actually, your creator. You see, like the rest of these creatures, I created you.”
Jason could not believe what he heard. How could he be my creator? I have parents. I wasn't created. “You're not my father. My father died ten years ago. And you don't look anything like him.”
The scientist laughed. “Implanted memories. It gives you the semblance of a life, makes you think your over twenty-five years old. But, if I remember right, you're slightly over three years old.” He reached over for the dog tag and looked at it. Jason tried to pull away; but, his body refused to move. “Yup. Over three years now.”
Jason shook his head. “No way. How do you explain this scar I got when I was eight?” Jason pointed to his left arm and was surprised he could move again. He distinctly remembered getting this scar when he fell from the top of a tree. The scar needed over twenty stitches.
The scientist smiled. “Again, implanted memories. We gave you that scar to make the memories look more real.” He moved to the centre consoles and pressed a few keys. “Here we go. Come here. Read this.” His body started to move towards the console against his will. Jason looked at the scientist and wondered how he did that. Try as he might, he could not bring himself to stop or shoot. All he could do was listen to him.
Once he reached the console, he looked at the screen. What he read shocked him more than what floated in the tubes. The words spoke of his life. Every intimate detail flashed on the screen, even those he kept secret, like his first sexual experience which his best friend Tom. No one except him and Tom knew; but, there it was on the screen. He turned to the scientist. “How?”
“I told you, son. I created you.”
This made no sense to Jason. “How? Why?”
“Ah. Well, that's the million dollar question. Because, we could, and our government wanted the perfect soldiers. What better soldier than one who could change into an animal and gain all its strengths.” The scientist took up a small electronic pad, walked up to the tube with the rhino in it and keyed in a few things. “Remember the news about the scientist who managed to clone a sheep. Well, he used to work for us, until he changed his mind and tried to reproduce our procedures. As you know, all government banned cloning, though not for the reason everyone thinks. We couldn't let him divulge our work.” He looked back at him for a moment and returned to examine the rhino. “I think by now, certain governments made sure he won't be able to work again.”
Jason just stood there, not knowing what to believe anymore. What this scientist said seemed crazy’ but, what he saw in those tubes and panels only proved what he said. He looked at the tube again with Stone's clone. What he says must be true. The proof’s all around me. But why clone me?
The scientist replied, as if he read his mind. “We clone the super soldiers, in case our government doesn't like something about them. That way we got another ready for testing.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, if they get emotions that interfere with their killing instincts or become too human to kill, they'd be no use to the government. They want perfect killing machine. So, we program in the emotions.”
“So, all I'm feeling is pre-programmed by you?”
The scientist nodded, “By me or someone working under me. That way, we can see what happens and figure out what is the best combination of emotions.”
Jason looked at the scientist, at the console, then at the tubes again. Everything stared at him, in plain truth. None of this could have been fabricated for a lie like this. It had to be the truth. But, why do all this?
“Because we can.” Again, Jason felt the scientist read his mind. “Well, enough for now, I have other matters to attend to. And if your wondering why you have the urge to kill me, but can't. Well, I can't have my creations turn on me, now can I.” With that, the scientist pressed a button. In a matter of seconds, a squad of twelve mercenaries rushed in. “Please dispose of this creature, and make sure you do not damage the equipment too much. It will take too long to clone another.” With that, he walked through the door. Only then did Jason regain full control of his body again.
The mercenaries aimed their weapons towards him and fired. Without thinking, he drove behind a computer in front of the tubes as volleys of bullets flew around him. “Stone! I need help. I got ambushed! And hurry!”
“Be right there.” The voice rang through their com-set.
Jason took out his rail gun and readied himself. Taking a deep breath, he rolled to the other panel four feet to his left and opened fire. Bullets flew and tore through the computer equipment they hid behind and through three of the mercenaries. All three dropped like bricks. He rolled behind the computer console, narrowly averting the volley of bullets.
That's three down and nine to go. Jason remained hidden behind the panel as bullets flew non-stop. Jason felt the computer console strain under the volley of bullets, and finally a few of them broke through. Taking another deep breath, he waited for the volley to lessen a bit, kneeled up and fired another four shots. All four tore through the equipment that instantly exploded. The mercenaries dove out of the way, but two moved two slowly. Metal shards dug into the skull of one, while an electrical cable fried the second. Jason quickly ducked again as another volley narrowly missed his head. Seven to go. He looked around for another place to hide, as this console no longer provided good protection.
He heard something clank to his left and then roll to his feet. GRENADE! Without thinking, he dove out the way. The grenade exploded and sent metal shrapnel flying all around him. As he recovered from the explosion, he felt a stabbing pain in his right shoulder and noticed a metal spike sticking out at both ends of his shoulder. He quickly tried to rise to his feet, only to feel a blow to the back of his head. He collapsed on the floor and the shard dug deeper into his shoulder. The sudden pain made him scream out in agony.
Slowly, he looked up and saw the remaining seven mercenaries around him with their guns pointed to his head. One of them kicked Jason's arms out from under him and he fell on his face. Jason groaned in pain as the shrapnel moved up his shoulder again and tore up more of his flesh. All of them laughed. “I can't believe these egg heads think these things are better than us! God made us first. You can't improve on the original! Looky here. He's changing back.”
Jason felt his strength leave him as his body shifted and shrank. He could not keep his form no matter how he hard tried. Fang warned him that if he got injured or lost consciousness he would return to his human form. He heard the bone in his shoulder snap as his shrinking skeleton strained against the shrapnel. The searing pain made him scream and slowly lose his grip on consciousness.
“See, I told you,” the same mercenary continued. “Can't improve on the original.”
“Do we kill him now?” Another asked.
“No. Let watch him suffer for a bit. Teach him right for killing us!”
They watched him as his body slowly changed back to human form. Tried as he might, Jason could not change back. The pain was too much. He tried to get up on all fours; but, he could no longer hold up his own weight. He fell on the floor again and his face landed in his own pool of blood. The mercenaries laughed and placed the barrels of their gun on his back and they prepared to kill him. Jason closed his eyes as he prepared for the inevitable. He managed one last thought. Stone.
Jason jumped as he heard an explosion then guns firing all around him. A second later, everything became dead silent. It took Jason a few more seconds to realize he was still alive.
“Jason!” He heard an echoed voice call out to him.
He felt a large hand slowly turn him over as his eyes landed on a large equine face. “Stone!” He coughed out.
“Don't talk. It's okay now. We're here to get you out.” Jason felt Stone touch his left shoulder and he groaned in pain. “Black, get here. He's bleeding.”
The panther kneeled besides him and quickly took out a med kit. “Roll up his sleeve.”
“Black, there's no time for this now,” Fang roared. “We gotta get out of here. Now!”
“He won't make it if we move him now.” Black growled back.
“Hurry up then. I'll hold them back as best I can.”
Stone ripped his sleeve off and Black injected him with something. The pain slowly vanished as his body grew numb. “Now, Rhino. Just relax. You'll be okay,” the black panther purred.
With the pain gone, exhaustion took him over. He focussed on Stone's eyes, who looked back worried and concerned. His mind slowly floated in darkness. “Jason! Don't die on me. Don't leave me!” Stone pleaded. Before Jason could reply, darkness washed over him.
Jason logged off from his computer and pulled away from his desk. Well, that's it. There's nothing else to do but pack. He walked over to his bed and pulled his huge military carry bag from under the bed. Opening his dresser drawers, he packed away his clothing. It took him only a few minutes to pack away all his belonging. Then again, owing only clothes made packing quick.
Once all packed up, he looked around his room and sighed. Something in the back of his mind told him to stay. He angrily pushed it aside. He knew full well he had to leave and the scientist’s words were only a reminder of that fact. You see, like the rest of these creatures, I created you. He was that scientist's creation. A creation! This meant all his thoughts, his memories and his actions were all pre-designed. Even the rest of this unit were creations. Like him, they were all puppets. He wanted nothing of it. When he joined, he had a feeling his life would change. He never thought it would change like this.
He hoped that leaving was not something that scientist put in his mind. He no longer knew if any of his actions were his own or a scientist's grand design. That is why he decided to leave. He hoped to get away from it all, and maybe get a normal life, if it could be done. What angered him the most though, were his feelings toward Stone. He thought he felt something strong towards him. He actually believed he could find love with him. He laughed. Love. They probably just programmed that in too. That 'scientist' probably thought it'd be funny for a rhino and a stallion to be in love. He would have no part in this experiment. Whatever it took, he would take back his life.
He swung the bag over his shoulder and headed towards the door. As it opened, he was startled to see Stone standing there, in his stallion form, and barring his way. "I guess it's true what I heard. You’re leaving, right?" He asked in a low tone.
Jason looked up. "Well, what do you think? I'm all packed up." Jason looked for a way around the large equine, but found none. He had no choice but wait until he moved. "I thought I could leave whenever I wanted?"
“Sure you can. But why? You passed all the tests and did great on your first mission. Fang decided to keep you on the team.” Jason could see confusion in the large equine eyes.
“That’s not why I’m leaving.” The last thing he wanted was to be asked twenty questions. He wanted to get out of here. Jason irritably glared at Stone. “Do I need a good reason?”
Stone sighed heavily, his eyes peered deep into his. "Your leaving because of what that scientist told you, aren't you?"
"Isn't that good enough? Aren't you upset at finding out that you’re just a . . . puppet? That you’re this creation of a mad scientist's dream? That every thought and emotion's already been pre-programmed into you?" Stone sighed again, to Jason's great surprise. Is he as mad as that scientist? Was he the only one who knew there was no point to life anymore?
"Well, did you even consider that he could have lied to you? To me, it looked like he stalled for time 'till the mercenaries showed up." Stone spoke in that cool and collected tone of his. Stone always seemed to be calm, no matter what.
"What about all those containers? My life story in their computer? And why couldn't I shoot him? I’m actually surprised Fang kept me when I froze like that.” That last alone was reason enough to leave. How could he be relied on when he could freeze at any time?
“Rhino. Jason. We just found out the scientist used to work for us up to a month ago. Our government thought he died in a car accident. Obviously, he’s alive and working for someone else. He had more than enough opportunities to get samples of all our DNA, and, his area of expertise was mind control and manipulation. That’d probably explain why you froze.” Jason listened to Stone as he looked for another way out. He still found none. “And Fang found records of all our lives in their systems. Not just yours.”
Jason paused his search for an exit and pondered Stone’s words. He admitted to himself that what Stone said made sense. Still, something bugged him. “But… why make them look like us?”
Stone shrugged. "Who knows. Obviously, that base was more than just an arsenal dump." Stone paused for a moment. "So, you still convinced you’re a creation?"
"I . . . don't know." Somehow, something told him Stone told the truth. He shook his head angrily as pictures of the tubes with the werelings floating inside flashed in his mind. The picture flashed again as he saw his twin in the tube. "I need time to sort things out."
Stone moved out of the way and into his room. "All right kid. We can't force ya to say. But, none of us want you to leave.. We want you to stay." Jason shrugged as he started out down the hall. "I wish you could stay." Stone added barely out of earshot. For the first time, he heard emotions coming from the stallion.
Jason turned to face the stallion. "You . . . want me to stay? Why?"
Stone looked at him. "Because . . . I care for you."
Jason simply stood there with his jaw opened and he stared at the stallion. It took a few seconds for the words to finally register. "You... care?" He looked at the stallion suspiciously. "Why?"
Stone started to flush, something else he never saw him do. "Well, of course. Your part of our unit... our family. We care for each other." Stone paused and Jason saw in those large brown eyes that there was more than just military 'family' caring. "Because... I've grown..." Stone took a large deep breath, "I've grown close to you." Stone's fur took on a bright red hue.
Jason stood there for a moment, as Stone spoke the words he wanted to hear for the last two months. How he loved being close to him, listening to him and practicing with him. Then, hesitation set in again, as the scientist repeated the words in his mind. "I . . . I don't know anymore. How do I know your feelings are real? How do I know my feelings are real?" How he just wanted to hug Stone right then and there, but how could he know it came from him, and not from a plan. "I need to sort them out."
Jason turned around and left. Before he took his fourth step, Stone said, "I was confused once too and I thought of leaving." Jason stopped in his tracks, but did not turn around. "Bruno game me this piece of advice before I left. He told me that you should always trust your instincts and heart. If you just take a second or two and clear your mind, the first thought that comes is the right answer." This came from Bruno? Jason could hardly believe it. Stone continued, "I'm surprised too. Who'd think that our big lummox would come up with that. Now I see that he might be big and slow, but he sees things most of us don't."
He closed his eyes and felt his body shake. Half of him wanted him to leave this insanity now. The other half wanted him to stay here, with Stone. Part of him believed the scientist, the other Stone's words. Never in his life has he felt so torn up inside. Trust my instincts? Trust my heart? Now that he thought about it, his instincts have never been wrong. It saved his life more than once on the field. With a deep breath he cleared his mind. After a few seconds of darkness, an image appeared. He saw Stone's face, both in human and wereling form.
He dropped his duffle bag, ran back to the stallion and wrapped his arms around him tightly. Stone placed his huge arms around him and they held each other. All his doubts and confusion vanished as Stone stroked his back. He never thought this day would come, and now that it did, he could not believe he almost let it go. He felt he made the right choice. He just hoped he would not regret it later.
Slowly, Stone released him and closed the door behind him. Stone smiled warmly as Jason stared back confused and wondered what Stone was up to. Stone's two huge hands swallowed his own and gently pulled him onto the bed. Jason finally understood and his heart jumped. Before he had any more doubts, Stone kissed him. Jason felt Stone’s passion in the kiss and Jason returned his own passion he felt towards Stone. The next thing he felt were huge hands caressing his body. Jason moaned softly and ran his fingers through Stone’s soft mane. After what seemed like an eternity, they slowly broke their kiss.
Without another word, Stone slowly stood up, and removed his camouflage pants and his green army tank top. Jason watched with great interest as he saw the pants fall to the ground. To his greater surprise, he wore nothing else. Jason's eyes almost popped out of his head as he saw the sheer size of Stone's sheath at full attention for the first time. Then again, it fit the stallions hulking ten feet tall frame. Below the sheath, two large balls hung limply and invitingly. He looked up at Stone, as fear washed over him. There was no way he could take Stone's shaft in his mouth.
Stone smiled and answered as if reading his mind. "Why don't you change?"
"My shoulder still hurts too much." Jason winced in pain at the last time he tried, which almost made him pass out.
Stone smiled. "Well, then I'll just have to make sure it doesn't hurt this time." Slowly, he towered over him and slowly started to remove his clothing. Jason opened his mouth to protest; but, quickly closed it again. He wondered how Stone could make his transformation painless. The question instantly vanished as strong hands slipped under his own tank top. Jason gasped as the warm and soft fur slid across his chest. He never felt anything so wonderful before. Stone’s warm fur gave him goose bumps. Once his shirt removed, Stone ran a thick finger down his head, chest and stomach and finally reached his belt. Stone’s think finger easily undid his belt, and unzipped his own dark brown camouflage pants. Once undone, hands deftly slid down to his feet, removed his socks one by one. Finally, his pants slid off. As they dropped on the floor, Jason felt his whole body burn as he saw his own uncut member standing at full attention.
Stone smiled as his hand swallowed Jason’s shaft easily, making him groan in pleasure. "Impressive." Stone crawled into bed again, this time kneeling between Jason’s legs. The equine’s strong arms picked him up so that his chest faced Stone's muzzle. Stone snorted softly and his warm breath teased Jason’s nipples. Suddenly, Jason’s body was hit by a sudden wave of pleasure as Stone licked his nipples. Jason held his breath for a second while his body shook. Stone smiled. "When I start, start changing."
Before Jason could reply, Stone buried his muzzle onto his chest and started to suckle on his left nipple. Jason yelled in surprised which quickly turned into loud moans of pleasure. The sudden pleasure made his head spin as he leaned forward and held himself against Stone's head. He felt the huge and warm tongue lick his nipple as the lips suckled it. Waves and waves of pleasure hit his mind, making it hard for him to focus. Finally, he managed to gain enough control to start changing; but, Stone's muzzle made it hard to maintain.
Slowly, Jason felt his bones and muscles stretch and grow, while his shoulder wound shot daggers of pain as it resisted the transformation. Stabs of pain mixed with waves of pleasure made him moan and groan as he fought to keep his chain of thoughts focussed on his transformation. To his relief, the pleasure managed to mask most of the pain. He continued to feel his body shift, stretch and grow, until finally, it ended.
Jason opened his eyes, not realising he closed them. He sat on Stone’s lap, muzzle to muzzle with him. Stone smiled and licked his nose. "See, it wasn't that bad."
Jason said nothing as he wrapped his huge arms around the stallion and kissed him with renewed passion. He pulled the stallion on top of him and then rolled on top, not once breaking their kiss. Once on top, he broke their kiss. Stone blinked, but before he could say anything, Jason licked his way down to Stone's chest and aimed for his left nipple. This time, it was Stone’s turn to moan in pleasure. Encouraged, Jason used his hands to gently massage Stone’s shaft and balls as he continued to nurse on his nipple. When Stone started to writhe and pull on the sheets, Jason licked his way across the chest, enjoying the sweet taste of his lover's fur and hide. Once he reached his target, he gave it as much attention as it's counterpart. Stone's moans increased his own lust, which made him want to please him more. Not one to back down from a challenge, Jason redoubled his efforts. Once satisfied that he could take no more, he slowly licked his way down the massive chest, heavily muscled stomach and finally reached his destination.
Jason studied the huge throbbing member and smiled. It seemed smaller now, more manageable. He resisted the urge to swallow it all up, and focussed on the two large orbs below. Slowly, he lapped the large ball sack, getting a louder moan and whinny from him. Jason inhaled deeply, enjoying his new lover’s heavy groin musk. He found himself getting totally turned on by pleasing Stone. Jason spread Stone's legs apart a bit more to get a better access to his balls. He continued to lick them, and then slowly licked the space between the legs, doing one side then the other. This got an even stronger response from the huge stallion as his entire body now writhed in pleasure.
As he swallowed both of Stone's balls, Stone shifted his body so that his muzzle ended up below Jason's groin. He felt the muzzle bury itself onto his loins as a tongue wrapped itself around the tip. Suddenly, a warm sensation surrounded his shaft that made Jason snort and groan in pleasure.
Jason no longer held back as he opened his own muzzle and took in Stone's entire member. To his relief, he easily swallowed and deep throated the huge member. Stone responded by shivering and snorting loudly as his breath washed over Jason's balls. Thirstily, both nursed and suckled on each other's throbbing shaft. Stone's hands worked his rump and massaged his aching balls, trying to gently squeeze his seed out. Jason copied Stone's movements and fondled his lover's. It took no time for his balls to start lurching and his shaft fill up with his seed. At the same time, Jason felt Stone's shaft expand as he licked up large globs of pre.
Both breathed heavily, as their hands explored their now sweat covered bodies. Jason suckled on Stone's shaft thirstily, wanting to taste Stone’s salty and sweet seed. Stone's ministrations quickly worked their magic as he felt his balls drain some more and his shaft swell up to the brim.
Suddenly, Jason's body tensed up and he instinctively pushed his shaft into Stone's muzzle. He snorted loudly and his seed exploded into Stone's thirsty throat. At the same time, Stone's body tensed up and forced his own shaft into Jason's mouth. Stone’s shaft throbbed one last time and erupted with his warm seed. Taken by surprise, Jason let the first few explosions leak out of his muzzle; but, he quickly recovered and swallowed the subsequent jets. Stone on the other hand had no problem swallowing his seed as he felt the stallion redouble his efforts, as if trying to literally suck every last drop from his balls. Explosion after explosion, Jason drained his balls of their contents while Stone’s seed spilled in his mouth. With every explosion, a tidal wave of pleasure washed over his entire body, making his orgasm even greater. Just as Jason thought he could no longer bear the extreme pleasure, his climax slowly subsided and his body slowly began to relax again. At the same time, Stone's explosion lessened and his body relaxed.
As Jason licked up the last glob of Stone's seed, he slowly released the drained member from his maw and waited for Stone to finish. He slowly turned around and found that his strength was also drained from him. He weakly collapsed besides Stone's equally weak body and rested his head on Stone’s shoulder. Stone whined softly and contentedly. He felt Stone's hands gently stroke his back, as Jason drew idle circles on Stone's massive chest.
"So, Jason. Will you reconsider?" Jason felt that Stone wanted him to stay for him rather than for the unit.
Jason looked back at Stone and kissed him. "Does that answer your question?" Stone nodded slowly and kissed him back. Slowly they broke the kiss and let sleep take them over.
As Jason closed his eyes, all doubts vanished.
Fang padded up to Rhino's door, with Black clinging to him lovingly. He gripped his panther tightly and kissed him again, which got a giggle out of his mate. How he loved him dearly.
Black looked up at him. "So, you think he left?" His deep male voice heavily contrasted against the 'effeminate' behaviour the panther kept. Another thing he loves about him.
"There's only one way we'll find out." Fang replied as he knocked onto Rhino's door. He waited a minute and there was no answer. He looked at his mate, who winked at him and motioned for him to try again. Fang knocked again.
This time, he got a reply. "Hold a sec."
After a minute, the door opened and Rhino stood there, easily filling the door frame in his rhino form. He only wore a towel around his waist. Fang smiled as he looked him up and down. To his great surprise, Rhino blushed, making his thick hide turn a reddish grey colour. Black tried to hold back a chuckle, but failed miserably.
"I guess you'll be staying then?" Fang asked, though knowing the answer already.
"Yeah. I had a good talk with Stone." Fang could not help but smile again as Rhino took on a deeper shade of red.
"You sure you two talked?" Black giggled. Fang playfully slapped his panther on the rump, though he did expect it from his playful mate. This made Rhino's entire body turn a good shade of red.
"Well, better get ready. We got a mission briefing in an hour."
"Ok." With that, Rhino started to turn around.
"And Stone," Fang added more loudly. "You better get ready too!"
Rhino stopped in his tracks. Fang saw Rhino’s tail flick about nervously. After a second of silence, Stone replied, "Yes Sir!"
The door closed behind a totally embarrassed Rhino. Black could not help but laugh. Fang had to admit that it was quite fun to tease them. Black licked his muzzle. "See, I told ya he'd stay."
“Your right. I didn’t think he’d stay after his first mission. I’m happy he’s staying. He’ll be a great addition.” Fang had to admit that Black read others more easily than him. “And I think Stone likes him a lot.”
Black giggled and took a few steps ahead of him. Fang growled softly as Black rose his tail, teasing the lion. "Are you asking me something, Black?" Fang growled softly as his mate teased him. He took a few quick steps forward as Black kept his distance.
"I was thinking since we have an hour, I'd like to take care of my master. We have more than enough time." Black giggled with a teasing wink.
Fang grinned and growled, "oh, you think an hour is enough? We'll just see about that." With that, he took one wide stride and grabbed his mate's arms. "Now, my slave, let's see how well you take care of your master." With that, he led his giggling and teasing mate to their room.