[Vfw-times] story CM council 10

Hedonism hedonism at transfur.com
Mon Jul 3 18:33:09 CDT 2000

Figment, Part 16

The Real Conclusion

By Hedonism

Note : Conversations enclosed by colons : like this : are telepathic
communications, such as between Figment and her host, or from the mind of
one creature directly into another.

Synopsis : Rebecca has kept her best friend with her since childhood,
despite knowing full well that this friend, Figment (AKA Hedonism), is just
an imaginary one she never had the heart to forget with maturity. Putting up
with this minor psychological idiosyncrasy, she got on with life. Until two
vicious gangs attacked her, and the friend she knew damn well was just made
up turned out to be quite real, and capable of giving her ass-kicking powers
of transformation.

Rebecca is on a mission to find Figment after her friend, was extracted from
her by a sinister police-like organisation, the Union Of Coils. The Union,
composed of Werecreatures (animals capable of transforming into humans),
Yuan-Ti (serpent-like entities also capable of appearing human) and other
strange entities, is dedicated to hiding the world's population of
supernatural creatures from humanity, and protecting everyone from
supernatural threats.

Doctor Jagar, an evil Yuan-Ti, abused his respected position as mind-surgeon
to extract Figment from Rebecca. He tricked the other members of the Union
into thinking the parasite was an evil creature that needed to be removed
for the sake of it's host, and that during the extraction the creature had
died. In fact, he had hidden the creature away and planned to lobotomise her
so he could gain her vast powers of transformation.

Despite Jagar's murderous efforts, Rebecca has rescued and merged with
Figment, and their huge reserves of relief and need for vengeance have
increased the power of their shared body. With the doctor desperately
escaping, and the massed Union forces still aiding him, we join the girls
for payback time.

Meanwhile, Rebecca's allies are in trouble - a powerful spirit Yuan-Ti
confronts them. Werebird Sarah 'Magpie' Fritz is stuck in bird form, Amanda
the Weresquirrel is unconscious, and Nice Rack the Weredeer super hero is
literally in the clutches of the spirit. She has perverted the entity with a
mind-altering weapon, filling the ghost with a dangerous lust. Now this lust
may make Nice Rack a victim herself.

Simon Gerfallen (AKA Critter-Man), the monster with a burgeoning love for
Rebecca and Figment, has found his own way into the Union base, and is
intent on rescuing our heroines. Like Rebecca, he is also pursued for the
murder of a Yuan-Ti. The only difference is, he is sure he committed the
murder, and doesn't know if his alien instincts will force him to kill
again. Unpredictably, he didn't kill a second Yuan-Ti that threatened him,
despite even greater provocation and danger. Meanwhile, Critter-Man's
allies, the super powered humans of Kodhos Island continue to attack the
Embassy to keep the Union troops occupied.

* * * * * * * * * *

Simon walked to the door at the end of the corridor. It's wooden boards were
pushed out in a slight cone shape around a grapefruit sized hole from one of
his attacker's bullets. That idiot serpent didn't think that his shots had
the power to go through any number of walls, and for that matter, any number
of innocent people.

He opened the door and was immediately confronted by his weremink companion
Shtara. She stood in the center of the room, a look of pain and disgust on
her face as a ten foot long snake coiled about her stomach, it's tentacles
looped tightly around her neck.

Critter-Man marched forwards.

"Get off her, snake!" he snapped. "Or I'll fillet you."

The serpent let out a strangled hiss and tightened it's grip, coils looping
around it's captive's jeans.

"It's okay, Simon! He is just being afraid!" cried Shtara, stepping

Critter-Man rolled his huge eyes upwards. "Why are you putting on that

"I... Uhhh... Well... I want you to meet my boyfriend. The one we were
looking for."

Our hero stepped back and felt his stomach go cold. He pointed an accusing
claw at the reptile.


Oh, the images he wished that hadn't conjured up in his mind.

The Lesser Serpent chuckled as Shtara curled the lips up on her snout,
exposing some vicious fangs.

"NO! The man who is behind you with gun!"

Critter-Man turned slowly and fastened his eyes on a tall weremink male, his
brown, furry chest bared, wearing the lower half of a police uniform. He
pointed his pistol towards the monster before him and smiled.

"Sorry about this, but you _did_ kill one of our officers. I'm not as
convinced as Shtara that you're... well... a good guy."

Simon shrugged. "I probably ain't. But if you want to look out the door
you'll see an empty suit of snake armour, but no snake body. I let it go
without killing it."

The weremink peered through the hole in the shattered door, cautiously.

"So you have some self control now. According to the witnesses, you didn't
before. How do I not know you're going to lose it again?"

His target gave a sad smile. "I wish I knew the answer to that myself."

The mink slid his gun into a belt holster. "Hell, at least you're honest.
And you've saved a few lives. Save a few cops and I'll forgive you

"You will help Critter-Man, Shaun?" asked Shtara anxiously, as she tried to
unwrap the clingy Lesser Serpent. Her boyfriend nodded and touched his
muzzle to hers lightly.

"If Shtara says she's innocent, I believe it. I'll help you clear her name."

Simon grunted. He didn't have any evidence to clear them, and couldn't care
less about whatever laws this stupid collection of animals adhered to
anyway. He was just here to help Rebecca and Figment escape.

"Do you know where Rebecca is, Shaun?"

"Mostly. There's reports of her whereabouts coming through my radio all the
time. The last time was at doctor Jagar's office."

Shtara's new buddy kept hooking it's coils and tentacles around the animal
woman, partly through affection and partly because her fur is just as
luxurious as the normal mink variety.

"Critter... Simon, there's one thing I need you to tell me."

The monster bid him continue.


Shtara's shout was accompanied by a wave of psychic intimidation that made
even Critter-Man and her boyfriend back off. The terrified Lesser leapt away
and squirmed into a corner, shaking uncontrollably. Then it started to sob.

"She hates snakes," said Shtara's boyfriend, masking his own fear with a
smile. "This is probably a journey into hell for her. Anyway... The cop. We
never recovered his corpse and his scent had been masked, so we never found
out who he was. Did you catch his name? Or his scale colour? Or anything?"

Critter-Man thought back, his heart aching as he remembered the disturbed,
out of character actions he committed.

"His badge said Wallace, number 4727 I think. He had irregular black arrows
on his back, and red patches on his sides."

The mink cop stood in thought as Critter-Man looked anxiously towards the

"Yes... That's Officer Wallace. We didn't find much forensic, but what there
was pointed towards it being him as well. Critter-Man... you killed a


"Officer Wallace died over two weeks ago."

Critter-Man looked around, confused.

"He wasn't undead. I've fought them before."

"Plus we cremated his body. Or most of it, at least. We never recovered his

The monster bit down an unpleasant sarcasm.

"How did he die?"

"Honourably. A portal opened up in the air, some sort of floating gate, and
these ugly bull-bird monsters flooded out. They dragged him in, but not
before he killed three of 'em. Our extradimensional department traced the
portal to some building and we found him there. Someone had surgically
removed his head... Critter-Man?"

The monster's eyes stared upwards, unheeding the cop. Shtara clutched her
eyes shut and rubbed a paw over her forehead.

"A big psychic flash?" she asked to herself. "That had hurt!"

Critter-Man smiled and stomped towards the door. "Figment and Rebecca.
They're together again."

* * * * * * * * * *

"Do you realise what you've _done?_" shrieked the spirit as she held Nice
Rack in her shimmering, nebulous hand, "I became an Angel to save people! I
have saved the meek from death and shepherded the souls of the brave to
Ssseth's heaven!"

Her unblinking eyes looked at Nice Rack luridly, then she turned away. Nicey
looked down at herself, furious at this treatment. Her cute doe tail was now
more like that of a crocodile. Her feet had lost all their toes and her
hands now had only three thick fingers. Though the Angel was resisting the
new wicked feelings, she still couldn't help gradually turning Nice Rack
into a form she considered beautiful.

"I have answered the helpless prayers of our hatchlings. I have challenged
Ssseth himself by delivering human children and Werebeast pups from the
cruelty of others - "

"God, you're sooo _boring!_" wailed Nice Rack through her serpent teeth.
"How can you be so dull _and_ a sexual pervert?!"

The furious serpent eyes turned back to Nicey.

"I'm doing this for _you!_ I'm trying to distract myself!"

She clenched her tentacle-fingers around the doe and squeezed. Nicey felt
the flesh in her legs get pushed into her hips, then down her tail until the
leggings of her garish super hero jumpsuit were completely empty. Now her
tail was an extra fifteen foot, and she couldn't tell where it ended and her
body began. She now looked like a furry Yuan-Ti now. There wasn't much doe
left, and the angel was getting more and more pleased with her reluctant

"Whoaahhh! Carry on distracting!" backtracked Nice Rack. "Tell you what, I
know about something _really_ disgusting."

The spirit Yuan-Ti cocked her enormous head.

"It's called Hentai. I'll tell you about it. If that doesn't put you off,
nothing will."

"Then tell me!" said the Angel desperately.

Plain romance ends at about the point feathers get involved. Kinky stretches
as far as restraining devices. Hentai doesn't stop until it's exhausted
everything that can be done with giant monsters and tentacles. To most
people, this is of course disgusting. But Nice Rack was giving a full and
lurid description of the term to a giant monster with tentacles. She is not
very good at tailoring the content of her lectures to her audience. Or
gauging their reactions.

The snake looked on with disbelief as Nice Rack, basking in her superior
knowledge of the concept, started to use lurid examples, hand gestures and
suggested websites. The Angel's shining slit eyes dilated. Her mouth hung
open, serpent tongue lolling out.

"Right. I told you it was disgusting!" exclaimed Nice Rack enthusiastically.
"Now, am I gonna get my legs back or what?"

"I, th, think... I think the, the answer to that is quite certainly, no,"
replied the serpent. "Wait! Yes, there's one thing I can do to save you from

Nice Rack rolled her eyes. "Yeah, good old last minute ideas, saving me from
the brink of gross stuff. What's your idea?"

"It's so simple," grinned the creature idyllically. It was the enlightened
smile of the dangerously religious, out to do what had to be right. "I can
kill you first..."

* * * * * * * * * *

Jagar exited the room and immediately looked up at the Angel, her body
sparkling with beautiful pure light. She seemed to be holding some sort of
furry serpent. Any other Yuan-Ti would stand in awe, inappropriate in the
circumstances as it may be. But the sight filled Jagar's already fearful
mind into utter terror. Fear of death. Fear of what came next.

His tail whipped out pounded the carpet, forcing the rest of his body
forwards as fast as possible up a different corridor. He left a slugtrail of
blood behind him.

Not far further behind, the draconic form sculpted of Rebecca and Figment's
combined bodies, broke into a steady run. So intent on catching the doctor,
they barely noticed what the ghost was doing.

Rebecca turned her heavy head and stopped quickly.

: What are you doing?! I want that bastard! : protested the parasite.

: My friends. They helped me get this far! We've got to save them! :

Figment shrieked anger and the urge for revenge into her host's mind. The
doctor had threatened death on her and Rebecca, and she needed payback.
Rebecca recognised Figment's encroaching hysteria and thought sharply at her
friend, pictured slapping her scaly face hard. The shrieks stopped, as the
creature lapsed into shocked thought.

: I'm sorry I did that to you... : communicated Rebecca, guiltily. It wasn't
the only time she had to think of nasty things happening to her friend. But
it worked as well as a good conventional slap.

Rebecca couldn't wait for Figment to respond to this. Instead, she stepped
forwards and bellowed a challenge at the spirit, her roar shaking the air
and furniture.

The angel dropped the limp snake-doe and turned around. Nicey didn't feel
herself land on a loose pile of coils. She had lost her arms, and her fur
was in the process of being replaced with brown scales. But she didn't
notice that either. She was in deep shock, the evil entity having already
committed its worst possible act on the poor creature, the most hideous
experience Nice Rack could ever suffer. The angel had taken away Nicey's
amazing curves and left her with a completely unremarkable, flat chest.
Watching her superhero costume front sag was all she could stand and her
mind had shut down for it's own protection.

"You!" screamed the snake, her angry and angst-filled voice accompanied down
the corridor by an enormous gale. "You! I can't stop myself! I must kill you
before I force you to suffer!"

"Yeah, whatever..." answered Rebecca. Inside her mind, she said, : Ohhh...
Hed? I can hurt her, can't I? :

Forced out of her daze by the desperate need to defend her host, Figment
collected the massive emotion energies swirling inside their body and
converted them into something that could deal with a spirit.

The angel lunged face first, her fangs bared. Rebecca leapt straight upwards
and flipped to the side with a push of her wings and the spirit's teeth sank
into the wall, ripping chunks of plaster away. The corrupted angel pulled
her incorporeal head free and followed the dragon into the air.

Rebecca watched with horror as her right arm withered and dropped off to the
ground, leaving a bloodless stump.

: Fig! What happened?! Are you alright?! :

: Yes! I did that! I killed your arm. :

The angel swung her tail around and wrapped it about the dragon. Rebecca
tried to free herself, her single arm passing ineffectually through the
coils. But she could still sense the limb that had been destroyed as if it
were still attached to her, and when she reached out with that, she felt the
monster's side against her nonexistent fingers.

: I killed your arm, now it's a ghost! It's spirit lives on! :

Figment took over the phantom limb and thrust it's claws through the angel's
flesh. Suddenly there were tear wounds in the nebulous scaly side, five rips
that glowed with a ghastly green light. The angel screamed in a haunting,
human way and thrust her maw at her still captive attacker.

Rebecca punched away the enormous snout with her undead limb, braking
several of the ghost's teeth, then tore at her neck. With each strike, her
ghost arm became visible with a green glow. She carved her way out of the
coils and the angel fell out of the air, her body partially hitting and
partially going through the floor.

The spirit Yuan-Ti was plainly not used to attacks working on her, and she
wailed as Rebecca continued to tear and rend her flesh, desperate to lay
this ghost to rest. Eventually, the creature lay still and started to
disintegrate into smoke.

: Hed? I don't think she was all that bad. Just screwed up... Can we save
her? :

Figment smiled. Or rather, she made Rebecca's dragon form smile instead.

: She's already dead, so there's nothing to save. I can't destroy her soul,
even if I wanted to, but we have sent it back to Ssseth. I doubt he's going
to be very happy. :

: With us or with her? :

: With us _and_ with her. :

Figment brought Rebecca's arm back to life, then they found Sarah, standing
in a corner out of the way. The parasite freed the parts of magpie's mind
that governed her ability to transform and fly, and the magpie quickly grew
into her humanoid self.

"Hey, you've never looked better," she chirped. "Both of you."

Rebecca and Figment hugged the bird woman tightly, then quickly attended to
the other war wounded. They laid their hand on Amanda and Figment and pushed
a burst of adreneline into the weresquirrel's body. She opened her eyes,
took in the situation and lashed a snap kick out into the dragon's throat.
Amanda rolled backwards onto her feet, then sobbed and clutched her foot, a
bruise forming under the fur from hitting Rebecca's armoured hide. Magpie
explained what was going on to Amanda as the dragon shrugged and pressed her
claws on Nice Rack, editing her genetic makeup and restoring robbed

Nicey opened her eyes, looked down and saw that everything was all right
with the world again.

"Well that was unpleasant," she muttered.

"Are you okay now?" asked Rebecca after she re-introduced herself and helped
the creature back to her feet.

"Yeah. I got all I need," she said smugly.

"Good," smiled the dragon wholesomely, as Figment took control and swept her
hand around in a backhand slap that sent the doe sprawling back to the

"Hey! What was that for?" she screamed as she waited for the world to stop
hurting so much. Amanda stood up but Magpie put a restraining hand on her

"For suggesting to the angel Yuan-Ti that she... does stuff to Rebecca,"
replied the Figment side of the dragon as she turned away. Rebecca was the
one who gave the form it's satisfied smile. Nice Rack stood up defiantly.

"Hah, it's really because I'm so much more beautiful that you, whether
you're a lizard or a librarian!"

Rebecca shrugged. "Hell, maybe a bit of that too."

She and Figment restored the reptilian transformations to Nice Rack and she
flopped on the floor amidst squirming snake tail.

Amanda flexed her stinging toes, sighed and for once ignored Nicey's plight.
Not to mention her screams. Rebecca turned to the sidekick and Magpie.

"Thanks for helping me," she said sincerely. "But please get out of here
while you still can. I'm going to go after the doctor, and I'll probably be
best off doing it on my own."

Amanda smiled grimly. "Well, we started this with you. Just _try_ to stop us
from finishing it with you!"

Rebecca sighed. "I've been picking up the Union's radio communications.
They've lined up troops between me and the doctor and they have orders to
shoot to kill. I know I'm bullet proof, and I know you aren't."

Magpie hugged her employee once more. "We'd be a burden this time," she said
professionally. "Well, don't do anything I would do."

* * * * * * * * * *

Rebecca advanced alone up the corridor, her lean reptilian body skulking
from wall to wall. In this form she was anything but stealthy.

Figment caught stray thoughts entering her mind. She screened them carefully
in case it was the harbinger of a mental attack. When she found out what it
really was, she squealed with happiness. Rebecca shook her head to dislodge
this high piched noise.

"What's up, Figment?"

The parasite replied by strengthening the mental link she had established.
New thoughts emerged inside their minds. Rebecca had the image of a
powerhouse of fur and muscle, shark teeth and a personality that completely
contrasted it's fierce looks.

: Critter-Man! : communicated Rebecca anxiously.

: Wha... you can communicate with... yes, Hi! Where are you? :

: We're... somewhere, : replied Figment. : You're very close. What are you
doing here? :

: I'm rescuing you both! Though it looks like you've done that yourselves! :

: Ahh, : said Rebecca to her white knight. : Not yet. We're going after the
snake that separated us. Then you can do all the rescuing you want! :

: Then I'll help you go after the snake! First we should get together! :

: Muchos Gracias! :

Hedonism and Rebecca conversed for a few seconds, then increased the powers
of this shared mental link even further. Simon's fur stood up along his back
as he felt an eerie feeling which resolved into a clear sensation of where
the creatures her loved were. Twenty foot down, three hundred foot away. He
could even sense their emotions, and with the hardest of concentration pick
up their senses. It was pervasive and bizarre, but it did the trick.

: You... I know where you are! I'll be right over! :

There was no answer, as a line of ten black fatigued soldiers appeared out
of thin air before Rebecca and Figment. Despite radical differences in body
shape, their formation was tight and they didn't look phased by the

"This is your last warning. Surrender or die!" shouted the leader. Shocked
by their appearance, Figment answered by charging straight at them, arms
outstretched as if to hug them all, claws unfurled to show this wasn't the
intention. Assault rifle bullets sang as they hit her scaly form and fell to
the ground like rain. The light bruising damage they caused was healed
almost instantly. As soon as the dragon reached her attackers there was a
bright flash and crackle as every soldier dissapeared.

Rebecca turned around as they materialised on the other side of the room. As
one they flicked a switch on their rifles, aimed and fired blasts of
lightning into the dragon. The properties of each arcing stab of electricity
were somehow modified to kill instead of stun, and caused their target to
convulse sharply and flop to the floor.

Rebecca squirmed a dance of death as her muscles twitched by themselves and
started to break apart. Then she felt a sudden series of alterations right
through her body. Figment increased the conductivity of her hosts' nervous
system and fed the electrisity bolts they attracted into natural batteries
formed amongst her muscles. Rebecca regained control of her body, got back
to her talons and snarled, nimbuses of electricity lancing from tooth to
tooth and from clawtip to clawtip.

The soldier's assorted animal expressions showed open-mouthed horror as they
gradually realised they are not killing her anymore, but charging her up.
Rebecca threw out her hands and the whole room glowed brightly with a tangle
of jagged lightning, jumping from victim to victim until they all lay
twitching on the floor.

Rebecca stood over the soldiers and checked they were all alive. Satisfied,
she started to eat some of their rifles to replenish her diminished chemical
resources, her teeth ripping the metal to shreds. She took the rest of her
nutritional requirements from the soldier's bodies, her hands merging with
their chests and pulling out any blood and tissues they could spare. Some of
them were going to be pretty hungry and weak when they woke up, but just cos
their duty was to kill her, it didn't seem to be reason enough to kill them.

Although the grotesquely fanged snakes on Rebecca's head looked blind, they
weren't. One that was looking behind her hissed out in alarm. A Yuan-Ti
soldier who was trying to sneak in braced himself against the ground and
levelled a disintegrator at the dragon.

: Don't let _that_ hit you! : screamed Figment.

: Duuuhhh! :

They turned around and reacted upon a wild idea from Rebecca. Figment's
hindbrain calculated the weapon's exact tradjectory, and Rebecca spat
desperately. A brilliant blue beam sang out, was intercepted by the thick,
solid spittle and disintegrated a good ten foot short of it's intended
target. Rebecca dropped the Yuan-Ti with a lightning bolt.

: Rebecca? Figment? Are you still there? : shouted Critter-Man inside their

: Yes, we're back! :

: Good. I'm only a few rooms from you. :

: Then join the party! :

: Roger Wilco. :

They ran onwards, opened up another door and found themselves face to face
with Doctor Jagar. And over twenty soldiers, standing in front of him. Half
were in that impenetrable Yuan-Ti armour, and they all carried much larger
weapons, including more disintegrators.

"Fire!" ordered the doctor, trembling with anger.

* * * * * * * * * *

Simon stormed through the various offices that made up this section of the
embassy, leading the two wereminks. Office workers looked up in a panic,
then quickly slid under their desks. Several called out and ran after the
beast, but any possible fights were put down by a Shaun with a showing of
his cop badge. He wondered how long it would remain his to wave around like

Critter-Man leapt over desks and cubicles, half blind from concentrating on
the mindlink with Rebecca and Figment, until he was confronted by a
formidable brick wall. Rebecca and Figment were within meters of him, just
on the other side of it. But there were no doors or windows, and he could
tell by their now vivid emotions that they were in a lot of trouble.

* * * * * * * * * *

Some of the guns twitched at Jagar's order, but he wasn't their commander.
The Yuan-Ti who did hold that job shouted, "Don't any of you dare! Rebecca,
you will put your hands in the air and don't attempt to do anything stupid
_or_ supernatural!"

Rebecca blinked, then slowly brought up her hands. She was almost mentally
deafened by Figment's psychic scream of frustration, but she wisely kept her
own snout shut.

"You will kill them!" shouted Jagar desperately. He had to finish this now,
get these enemies out of the way forever. He had his injuries bandaged up,
but it felt like there was something else wrong inside him. Seriously wrong.
He could have this looked at only when his enemies were dead.

"She killed Tobruk!" he shouted accusingly. "She killed one of _us!_ You're
failing Ssseth if you let her live!"

"But she's also one of us," answered the commander calmly. "Rebecca is still
a Lesser Serpent. It is our job to care for her!"

On the other side of the wall, Critter-Man tried to relax enough to get a
mental picture of what was going on in the adjacent room. He tapped into
Figment's incredible array of senses and found himself able to pick up the
many emotions confronting them. He sensed the roiling, churning emotions
from the parasite and her loving host. He felt a mixture of duty and
wariness from a thick group of individuals a little further away. And he
encountered a center of terror, pain and sociopathic self-centeredness a
little further back.

Jagar slapped the commander's face and ripped the creature's disintegrator
from his tentacles.

Critter-Man sensed Rebecca and Figment's fear increase and mix with
desperation and a sense of doom. This was too much for him to take. He was
of course a blend of man and monster. The man inside him tapped the wall,
and heard a hollow sound come back. Probably one brick thick with a weak
cavity inside. A man would go through it by building in a door. He had no

The soldiers looked back at Jagar but didn't try and stop him from aiming
the deadly weapon at his enemy. Jagar knew he could explain away his actions
later. Rebecca and Figment desperately tried to think of something they
could do without attracting death from all the other guns in this room.

Then a monster hurled it's way through the wall and slammed into the doctor,
sending both to the floor amidst shattered bricks, plaster and cavity
insulation. Jagar screamed as his wounds reopened, and by instinct he looped
his rattlesnake patterned coils around his attacker. Simon was far too
strong to be constricted, so all this meant was that Critter-Man had a
better grip on him, and the soldiers couldn't hit the monster without
drilling it's hostage first.

Critter-Man sized up the situation and shouted, "No-one fire, and I won't
bite this snake's head off! Understand?"

The commander rubbed his face and ordered his men back. Rebecca stepped up
to Critter-Man and placed her claw on his shoulder, smiling. Then she
gripped Jagar's head between both hands and watched impassively as he
squirmed and shook with mindless terror.

"What are you going to do with me?!" he screamed.

Rebecca tensed her claws. She and Figment could kill him in a million
different ways.

: I suggest way number five hundred thousand, nine hundred and seventy one.

: Is that what you really suggest, Figment? :

: I want to kill him, for you! :

: And I want to kill him for you. :

: Then let's do it together! :

Figment quietened as she felt dissaproval from her host, and her own guilt.

: Neither of us are like that. :

They turned their attentions back outwards again.

"Jagar killed Tobruk and framed Rebecca for it," said Figment.

The commander cocked his head. He ordered his men to lower their weapons.
They didn't lower them far.

"But aren't _you_ Rebecca?"

"Well, I am," said Rebecca. "And I'm the evil parasite who's taken over
her," said Figment, unhelpfully using the same mouth.

Rebecca became aware the doctor wasn't squirming in their grasp any more. He
had slipped into unconsciousness. She took her enemy into her hands and gave
his limp body to the commander. Figment caressed her hand over Jagar's head
to scan his condition. Their hostage given away, the soldiers raised their
weapons at Critter-Man and the dragon, resembling a firing line. The
commander sighed and waved them down again.

"I wanted him dead, right up to this moment. Now I just want all this crap
to be over," said Rebecca, in a voice that fully indicated how worn out she
was. Figment added, "by the way, he's dying from multiple snakebite wounds.
He got them from me when I stopped him killing Rebecca. Most of his muscles
have been messed up, and his heart'll stop in nine minutes if he doesn't get
medical treatment. He's not gonna get any from me."

"You've made a hell of a mess, Rebecca. Ahh, and Evil Parasite," said the
commander. "Want to come with me, help us tidy things up?"

The dragon slowly shrank and changed into her much less threatening
lizardwoman form.

"Only if you let Critter-Man free."

The monster smiled and clutched her hand. "No. I'm going to stand by you.
And I want to face trial for the crimes I've committed."

He snarled at the guards. "And let me warn you... It had better be a fair

* * * * * * * * * *

Over the next few days, the Union suffered from a series of humiliating
revelations. A lot of people were shouted at, some got sacked, others were
imprisoned. Rebecca was surprised to receive an extensive and wordy apology
from the Archpriest of the Embassy for the trials she had been through, the
incidents that should never have happened. Mostly though, they tried to
cover things up in typical Men In Black fashion.

Critter-Man's trial for murder of a policeman was taken down to some obscure
law for desecrating corpses, then he was cleared. The law and the Union
couldn't solve his mystery, so he was left alone with it.

John was rescued from the detention cells and his mind was scanned. They got
all the evidence of Jagar's crimes they needed from him. The doctor's
nervous system was badly damaged by Figment's venom, leaving him paralyzed
along much of his body. Jagar never got properly treated for this - every
other doctor refused to treat him. The only thing Jagar ever cared about was
himself, and now all he cared for was badly damaged, and headed to prison to
start a centuries long sentence.

Rebecca and friends were not the only escapees from the cells. Some people
were fired over this. Others had already been dealt with by the escapees,
making the paperwork a little easier to write up.

* * * * * * * * * *

Rebecca remained in reptile shape throughout the trials and meetings she had
to attend, but now she wore a formal business suit, expertly tailored for
those of the saurian persuasion. Figment said she could return her host to
humanity, but Rebecca decided she may as well keep her librarian self
separate from all this strangeness. It could be a full-fledged Clark Kent
haven of ordinary life. And things don't get more ordinary than in a


Now she sat with John, very much a different man. For one thing he had lost
about twenty foot of length. He perched on the table as Rebecca supped her

"I killed four people! I nearly killed you!" he hissed shrilly, his head
low. " I don't dessserve to be a Yuan-Ti anymore. I had to become a
LesssserSserpent. It's the right punissshment."

"Don't you think it's a bit harsh? You _were_ hypnotised."

Neither Lessers nor Yuan-Ti shed tears or even blink. But they could make
convincing crying noises.

"I had assked to die. Ssseth was generouss to me."

Rebecca chewed her coffee cup. Then started to eat it. Lessers were
generally happy creatures, so maybe making John such an animal would have
stopped him from experiencing all that depression at the things he had done.
But was it the right thing to do, to let John escape confronting his misery?
Was he escaping it, or could he deal it better with a mind that wouldn't
allow him to be so depressed? And how could he get his self-confidence back
in a form that is never trusted? What if he never wanted to be independent?

"Rebecca?" asked the Lesser anxiously, "Can I go out with you?"

Rebecca shook the thoughts clear of her head. She thought John had said
something very startling. Whatever that was. Figment told her. It was
startling. She blushed between the gaps in her scales as she looked down at

"Only, you're a Lessser ass well, and, and I... I..." he continued,

Rebecca stroked his head. It seemed to come naturally, and he obviously
liked it.

"Does that mean yess?" he squeaked excitedly.

"It means I'm stroking your head. I'm not a Lesser, I'm a human. Normally."

She blinked and shuffled in her seat uneasily as she remembered being a
Lesser herself. It wasn't a bad experience, but it was creepy to remember
how she was from a human viewpoint. Too damn trusting for one thing.

: Can he read minds, Figment? :

: Nope. :


"John... How old are you?"

: He's sixteen. :

"Sss... eighteen."

: Why the hell does he want to go out with me?! :

: Well, he's a teenager, you're female, and he's been with you for more than
five minutes. I reckon he's in lust with you.:

: Eww... :

: Ahem... I _am_ a reptile as well. :

: They you go out with him. :

: There's not enough room in you. :

"Look, you're a little young."

"It doesn't need to be physsical, or anything!"

: Yeah, right! :

"I'm bad at commitments."

"I'll forgive you! Up front!"

"You need to stay here with your friends."

"Then move in with me!"

Rebecca got up and patted the serpent on his head.

"I'll be back. And that's a promise."

He whined as she left. Until someone scooped him up onto their desk and
stroked him.

* * * * * * * * * *

Simon looked out upon the city from the Embassy roof. Somewhere in this city
a crime was being committed. Hopefully, not in the courts downstairs.
Rebecca alighted and walked to him, her splayed foot claws carefully
avoiding bird droppings.

"So...It's a nice view..." she gamboled.

: Rebs? Come on, get to the point. :

Critter-Man chuckled. "Figment, you forgot that I can hear your

"Nope, said Figment, borrowing their composite body's mouth once more. "I
knew you'd hear that. Come on, I think it _is_ time we addressed things."

Rebecca cast her eyes skywards as they sat down, her serpent hair bobbing
gently at her shoulders.

"We're two people. I can feel Figment's love for you, and I can certainly
feel mine," said the human half.

"And I've discussed things with Rebs," said Figment. "I don't want to
separate from her, but I don't want to be hidden so much any more."

"That means I'm pretty much a hydra," continued Rebecca. "Only with one
head. I can live with that. In fact, after all this messing about I know I
can't live without her."

She smiled and crept a little closer.

"The thing is, can you live with two women at the same time?"

Critter-Man smiled blankly. Taken out of context, it was the sort of
question men would die for. Of course, in this case one was a reptile and
they were pretty much the same person anyway.

"I wouldn't mind. But... you see the creature you're saying this to?"

Rebecca nodded. "We've seen some pretty strange things. I've _been_ some
pretty strange things. Now I know that at least one-and-a-half people in
every hundred is a creature in disguise. So, yes, you're not human, but
neither is Figment, and I don't mind."

There was an embarrassed but companionable silence.

Simon broke it by offering a tentative embrace She took it up. He felt like
a plush toy made of solid muscle.

"You're both sweet. And I've wanted to be here with you all this time.

Critter-Man raced to get the words of his dust-off line arranged properly.
He could already see the hurt welling in her eyes.

"I don't know how safe I am to be around. I have violent thoughts. Even when
I see you smile. Especially when I see you smile... I think it's because my
species links pain with pleasure..."

Figment spared a quick peer into his mind. She drew back, shuddering. But
her intrusion wasn't unnoticed by either Critter-Man or Rebecca.

"When I see you happy, I want to lash out. And I want to be hurt. I can't
let that happen! I'm pretty sure you don't want to be fending off my claws
or keep having to stab me with things."

The girls nodded, their head drawn back along their neck.

"I sense you want to change, Simon," said Figment. "It's a pity I can't do
that. Your nature is mixed up with your form. And it's a ferocious bugger;
if I tried to make you human again it'd probably kill you."

"What about if you changed _my_ mind?" asked Rebecca. Critter-Man's eyes

"No! You don't want to do that..."

He couldn't blush through his fur, but the emotion floated on top of his

"You have both got wonderful minds. I don't want you to like violence! No,
I'll work on my anger. Maybe when I know I'm safe I'll... start having a
relationship. I don't want to be a wife beater!"

Rebecca kissed him softly, this time with less hesitation. Figment dared
another glance into the monster's mind, just to ensure he was still safe. It
was a horror story of blades and injuries. She felt a mixture of sickness
and admiration for CM's willpower.

Simon didn't react to the kiss. He didn't dare to open his mouth, this close
to her head.

"You're something special, Simon," said Figment.

"I wish I wasn't _that_ special."

"So what do we do now?" asked Rebecca. "I need to sort out my life. Get used
to everything that's happened. Monsters inside and out of me. No offence,

She didn't need to apologise to Figment, who quite liked the term.

"I've got to find out why I killed that cop. If it was a cop. I've got the
feeling someone was messing with my mind. I can't let them get away with

"Well... If you find yourself in trouble, you know how to contact us."

"Thank you," he said heartfeltedly.

"So, when are you questin'?" asked Figment.

"I don't know. After... Maybe after we smooch." he smiled, unsure how else
to put it.

They smooched. Rebecca and Figment started to cry. Their being in a lizard
body didn't manage to lessen the impact this had on Simon.

"I... Okay, I didn't mean the first time we smooch. Come on, let me
introduce you to some really cool people."

By Hedonism

My Story an' Stuff Archive :

Critter-Man © Oren Otter

Nice Rack, Amanda Hugnkiss © Jesse "Karva" Blough

The Yuan-Ti, Ssseth © ReynardFox

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