Part 1: Silver
by Anna-Karin Larsson
To "Talis" for all her help.
Talis' Note: This story takes place the same year that the dance troupe was formed: seventeen years before "Illegally Born".
Doctor Ferran didn't look like he usually did. He looked calmer. Much much calmer. Lynne sat in the steel chair in front of his oval desk and held her hands clutched as he looked at her. His dark eyes narrowed considerably as he leaned forward.
"How long have you been working with us, Lynne Chandler?"
"Three years, Doctor. "
"Aha. Three years. Have you enjoyed" he made a strong emphasis on the word enjoyed, "your work here?"
"Very much Sir."
"And... How do you explain these latest incidences then? Are they proof of your loyalty to the research?"
"Loyalty? I can hardly feel any loyalty towards you, Sir." The furious look on his face made her fearfully add, "With all due respect, that is..."
"This my dear, is MY research facilities and I do NOT tolerate this kind of behavior here!" hissed the man and slammed his fist in the table. Lynne did not flinch. She didn't even blink, something that made Doctor Ferran quite perplexed. But the tall and dark-haired young woman couldn't feel anything right now. She was too numbed, to stunned by what taken place the previous days...
"Hush. Someone is coming"
"So? They can't hear us. They don't know..."
"Silly? He he, Very funny. Better then being called a stupid animal."
Lynne smiled and stole a kiss from the silvery cat man before she hurried out of the cage. She tried to make her long brown hair look fairly decent, but had to braid it again before anyone noticed how messy it looked. Silver grinned at her and leaned his forehead at the bars.
Then she hurried up to the silvery steel bars and stole another kiss.
"I gotta go..."
He nodded, and carefully stroked her thick hair. "Be careful, love."
Lynne hurried out of the laboratory pens. The silvery catman was one of the brightest, most intelligent and most caring persons she'd ever come across. She'd spent hours in there teaching him to read and write. He had a beautiful handwriting and loved to read the books she brought. In some of the journals she'd dug out about him, it said he was the mixture of some very intelligent scientists DNA and partly both household cat and snow leopard. The beautiful face, with those tickling white and black whiskers, was always on her mind. She glanced over her shoulder and smiled at him. "Bye bye, Silver."
"Bye bye" answered the silvery catman and waved at her.
Lynne couldn't help but smile as she sat down in the cantina. She started eating and was reminded of the crappy food Silver was fed. It was nutritious, that was good, but the taste was absolutely awful. She made a mental note to bring him those chili peanuts he was so fond of. As she ate and thought, someone sat down in the plastic chair across from her. It was Gillian, her best friend and research partner. The slim dark-skinned woman in her mid thirties knew all about the little secret love story that was going on.
"Hey there, hunny. How's the big boy?"
"Well, he's OK. I sat with him for a while. They tested some kind of medication on him yesterday, and that made him ill. He couldn't eat last night."
"Hmm... By the way, did you see the blue black boy that was born three weeks ago?"
"Oh yes. What are they going to do to that poor thing?"
"Well, I found this... Read it."
Gillian showed her a folder. It was common in the cantina that you read the latest reports and other material during lunch, so there was nothing strange about two research workers studied material in here.
"Read that line. I think you know those numbers."
"65-32-19... Oh my! It's Silver's number!"
"I know. I think it's Silver's child. I'm not sure though..."
"It has to be! I wasn't suppose to know of it, but I think they're trying to make the kittens grow faster in the incubation units, and Silver matured a lot faster than the lab kittens. I'm not sure though. It seems like.. yes... This kitten is a trial test alright."
"Another thing, Lynne. I'm sorry to say this, but I'm leaving in a weeks' time."
Lynne's fork stopped midair with a brown meatball on it. "You're what?"
"I've been granted a scholarship too go on one of the exploration vessels to the Trian System. It's just too good to miss out on."
Lynne closed the folder, glancing briefly at a photo of a cat-child in an incubator. It was completely black, just a pair of shimmering golden eyes looked into the camera. She liked those eyes. They looked just like Silver's did.
"Oh Gillian. I'm soooo happy for you!"
The rest of the lunch break went by faster then she'd thought.
Lynne made sure all the food was hidden out of view from the laboratory door. This was one of the smaller laboratories, used mainly for certain tests that required some silence and calmness around the scientists. The signal at the door buzzed and she made sure she looked properly clothed, with white lab coat and the reports in her hand. When she opened the door, she saw three guards: one holding out a paper for her to sign while the other two had Silver in cuffs and chains. They handed over the copy of the signed paper and the key to the locks on the silvery catman. they yanked the chains that held Silver and he was violently pushed inside, and the guards left the room. Silver mumbled a curse over the guards rough handling and got up on his feet.
"Are you all right?" said Lynne and checked him over.
"I'm fine. I can stand more then you think."
Lynne unlocked the chains, throwing them on the counter by the door. There was nothing that could be compared to burying her face in his thick fur, or feeling his arms embrace her shoulders. These few moments when she could claim him for herself were few and precious.
"No more tests for a week. That's all I could do."
Silver smiled at her and nodded, "It's more then enbough. They've been tough on me lately. I feel all worn out..."
Lynne scracthed his furry chest and smiled up at him. In the corner of the room, she had brought some decent food for him, a few rare candles burned and they had all night before he had to be returned to the cages, before the day shift came.
A crash. Shouts, guns, people. The chaos was over them in no time. Silver hissed and clawed in the air as the control collar sizzled with electricity. Three guards jumped him, pinning him to the laboratory floor. Lynne pulled the blanket over her naked body, staring at the scene. Someone knew about them! Two other guards roughly grabbed her upper arms and dragged her out into the room. She screamed when she saw one of the guards slam the butt of the gun in Silver's neck and the catman fell limp on the floor. Lynne was handed her clothing and when dressed, escorted out of the room. But she fought it with all her might.
"Silver! Don't touch him you freaks!!", she shouted, "let me go!"
But she was dragged along towards what she knew as high level security rooms, a special construction for the most violent of the cat people. Some experiment males were kept in here, and they looked absolutely crazy. She was tossed into one of the barred rooms and left all alone, with nothing but a single light above her.
"Oh... my... god..." she moaned and curled up, "What have we done? What have we done? Silver... Oh my Silver."
Silver woke with a gasp as someone poured a bucket of ice cold water on him. He blinked and stared at the people around him.
"Well, the critter is alive. "
"I can see that, thank you. All right, can someone bring Doctor Ferran?"
Silver growled and sat up, still glaring at the men. They were the ones that tormented him and the others with electrical buzzers, anytime they thought the scientists wouldn't notice, just to see how they reacted. It wasn't part of the laboratory tests, it was done just out of pure malice. After all, what did animals think of it? Silver hated it. And he was no animal. Animals don't torture others for the pleasure of it.
Lynne opened her eyes, realizing that she'd been asleep. The doors rattled far off and she heard steps coming towards her door. She sat up, shielding her eyes towards the bright light of the corridor outside.
"Get up." growled the guard and nodded at her. Lynne glared at him, but followed. She didn't stand a chance against these guards and their guns.
The room was almost empty except for Doctor Ferran, his three closest assistants and ten other guards. The three that had picked up Lynne stopped by the door, guns raised and safety off.
"Welcome!" said Ferran and nodded at her, "It appears we have a bit of a problem."
Four of the other guards stepped aside, revealing Silver sitting on the floor. He was bleeding from a scalp wound, and the blood had clotted and dried in his fur, making him look terrible. His left eye was swollen and one of his ears looked torn. The remaining unhurt eye stared at her. Lynne felt like screaming, like loosing control of herself. How could they?! Why? Why him?!
Doctor Ferran walked up to her, "And you are a part of that problem."
Lynne felt revolted as he placed his arm around her shoulder. "You see... I have a thing about personnel getting involved with my research animals."
He sounded so calm and collected, that Lynne started to get really worried. That he was about to do something really bad, something terrible.
"And to even get involved physically with them. Well, I think you have another problem there my friend. I think that's a bit wrong, my dear. Even our psychologist thinks so."
"He's not an animal!" spat Lynne freeing herself from his grip. Ferran smiled at her and shook his head, "Well, you see, he is. He was born six years ago by a snow leopard female. He's a creature that should never have been born, unless it proved some other valuable facts about our successful research here, Miss. Now, problems are to be dealt with."
He reached into his pocket, fishing out a device: a flat rectangular object with a handful of little buttons on. Lynne froze as she saw it. It was a master controller for the collars and she knew it could do much more than deliver the limited shocks that most of the controllers delivered. She'd been trying to get her hands on one, to perhaps use it to figure out how to get the collars off. But she'd never found one. Ferran sighed, eyed the buttons and then aimed at Silver. The guards stepped aside. But just as Ferran were about to press a button, Lynne rushed forward. Ferran stopped and nodded at one of the guards. A tall muscular man grabbed Lynne while she ran and held her back.
"NOO! Don't do it! Please! I beg you!"
All this time Silver had been looking at them, staring straight at Lynne. He raised his head slowly. When he did so, something noble came over him. An almost royal and emperor like glow came across his beaten face. He wasn't afraid anymore. He'd lived, loved and had been loved back. He saw Lynne, just a few meters away. And even if he'd restrained himself from it earlier, he spoke up. "I love you Lynne. I know that feeling now."
Lynne cringed and whined, trying in vain to muster the strength and powers to get free. Ferran stared at the silvery catman.
"Animals like you don't deserve that gift!"
Lynne screamed just as loud and wild as Silver when Ferran pressed the control. Silver clawed at the collar, screaming of pain as his nerves were burned. He fell to his side, gasping for air, but found nothing to breathe in. But he still managed to take a wheezing breath and reached out a shaking arm at Lynne. Even as it was getting darker around him, he still found enough power to silently form the words "love you". Then the impressive body fell to a limp pile of fur. The guard released Lynne on Ferran's order. She rushed over and kneeled down beside Silver's dead body. The scream of anger, sorrow and pain echoed through the room. Lynne leaned her head on his chest, feeling the tears stream down her face. She sat like that until she heard footsteps closing in.
"Get away from me, you ANIMAL!!"
Ferran stopped. He raised a eyebrow. This reaction was a curious thing indeed...
"No one heard that thing say a word. Understood?" he said.
The assistants and the guards nodded.
"Escort her to her rooms. Lock up. Burn the body."
Lynne lay limp and alone in her bed. She hadn't bothered to take off any clothes. She just lay there, staring at the wall, Staring at a photo of Silver that she'd taken. He was sitting in the corner of their little laboratory, smiling at her. He looked so relaxed and so peaceful. No torn ear, no dried blood. Nothing was wrong here and the picture was dominated by his smile and beautiful eyes. Lynne touched something else as well. It was a sample of his fur. A little plastic sample bag of his hair hung next to the photo. The woman whined like a hurt animal and curled up like a fetus in it's womb. She cried herself to sleep.
"So, have you had a chance to reconsider what has been going on lately then?" asked Doctor Ferran as he sat down in his chair, once again all silent and calm.
"And if I have? What would that matter? I'm not going to stay. I'm leaving with Gillian three days from tomorrow."
"Very well," he said pushing a piece of paper across the table at her. "I just want to remind you of your obligations. This is the agreement you signed when you came to work for me. It legally binds you for the rest of your life. You can never speak to anyone about this place, our tests or what you have been part of. Apart form that, you're free to go." Dr. Ferran leaned across the desk, his dark eyes staring her down. "Don't even think violating that agreement. You'd most likely run into one of my friends and even a human being can be made to disappear if they cause enough trouble."
She rose shakily from her seat but before she left, she turned and looked at him. "He was half human, Doctor Ferran. That's more then you'll ever be!"
"Hush, little one. Hush."
Lynne and Gillian stopped and looked around. The little black catchild in the baby carrier stopped whining and fell asleep again. They had a three minute window in the routines here and they made it. The guards never saw them and Gillain's passcard still worked.
The shuttle was filled with people, but that didn't mater. Lynne held the warm little body close to her. He was so beautiful. She smiled as the eyes looked at her. They were beautiful, golden and shimmering. Just as Silver's eyes had once been. She glanced at Gillain. She'd just finished reading the top classified folder they'd stolen.
"This is downright amazing. Did you know it?"
"No. Not until you showed it to me and I studied it in my room. And compared his DNA chart to the ones I had."
"I mean. Look here. They downright stole it and then used it to create this child. I mean, was there a reason you think?"
Lynne looked at the kitten before planting a soft kiss on its forehead, "Probably not. It just happened."
"Hmm.. Imagine that. Stealing an egg from you at the gynecology exam and then create this little brat sired by Silver and born by from the incubation chambers. Destiny is a strange thing."
"Destiny? Hmm.. I think you just named him. Destiny. "
The baby yawned and smiled at her. Did he wink at me? she thought and frowned a bit. But then she smiled and hugged the child closer to herself. They were free from Ferran. But how many more would die before he was exposed? She looked around the shuttle while thinking. her eyes fell on a girl standing by a pillar, looking at them. She was about to come over when a woman dressed in a red command uniform shouted at her, "Ari! There you are. Come on. We are late!"
The girl, a mess of red curls and huge eyes, smiled at Lynne and disappeared.