[Vfw-times] Story CM council 9
bevary at atcjet.net
Sat Jun 17 23:16:32 CDT 2000
Council of his Peers
Concord stood in the library looking pensive. The signs of battle were
all there. The smashed furniture, books thrown around, people's belongings
left behind as they fled in terror. Only one thing was missing. The body
of the loser was gone.
"(We know that the police did not take the body.)" quipped a youngster
named Shiver in his native Greek. "(Perhaps it was transported back to the
embassy through the radio.)"
"(Doubtful.)" interjected the large man known as Comet. "(If he was truly
dead, there would have been no one on this side to operate the radio.)"
"(Perhaps the body self-destructed.)" said Disruptor, though she doubted
it even as she said it. She knew the signs that such a thing would leave
"(No.)" said Concord. "(Even the yuan-ti could not destroy a body so
completely, so quickly, and leave no trace. There is only one conclusion.
He is still alive.)" Concord turned to the final member of his group, the
one known as Beam. Though Beam was thin and scrawny-looking, he was
perhaps the most powerful of the people assembled here, as well as the most
perceptive. He stared at the wall for a moment, and then announced "(He
did indeed walk away on his own, but not in the form of a human nor a
"(What do you mean?)"
"(The prints which he has left on the floor are those of a wolf, and later
on, those of a rat.)"
"(A shape shifter?)" said Comet.
"(One who has the ability to mimic death.)" Disruptor reasoned. "(The
yuan-ti won't be happy to find out that someone was impersonating one of
Concord shook his head. "(Critter-Man is a very intelligent person. He
would not be easily fooled. This person must have been an excellent actor.)"
"(Unless he believed he was truly a yuan-ti.)" said Shiver.
Concord thought for a moment, then said "(Shiver, Comet, go and keep our
promise. Keep the yuan-ti busy. Keep in mind, my friends, that they are
not the enemy, and not to be harmed. Beam, Disruptor, you and I are going
to find this whatever-it-is.)"
* * *
"Hit yourself in the head." said Shtara.
Critter-Man bonked his fist against where his ear would have been if he
had them. "Okay." he said. "I hit myself. What has that got to do with
"You are not listening!" said the mink. "You are passive mind-listener.
That is meaning that when yuan-ti are trying to control your mind, you are
not having any defenses."
"Tell me you are being piglet."
"I'm a piglet. So?"
"If I can using powers of charm to making you to do these things, why are
you thinking that you are being strong against yuan-ti?"
Simon finally conceded the point. "So what do we do?" he asked.
"You will acting normally."
"Well, of course..."
Shtara grabbed Critter-Man's head and forced him to look her in the eye.
"No matter what is happening, you will be doing what you will normally be
doing. Do you understand?"
Simon nodded silently, amazed at the authority in this woman's voice.
* * *
Shiver hated the role he was playing. He had to make himself highly
visible for the serpents to take note and try to silence him. That wasn't
a problem. Between the bright red-and-blue body suit he wore and the
artificial glider-wings (fashioned after eagles' wings in the tradition of
his ancestor, Daedelus) it was not at all a problem to make a spectacle of
himself in the air over the city streets. Yet such blatant display seemed
totally against the grain for one brought up in a lifestyle of low-key
living. Furthermore, it made him an excellent target. Thus far, the only
thing keeping him from being shot was that the yuan-ti did not wish to
react with an equally public display. Nonetheless, he knew they would not
let him go on producing sonic booms and shouting "FREE THE FIGMENT!" He
prayed that Comet was remembering to watch out for him.
* * *
Timothy Wolfe was having some major problems. As he stumbled through the
forests and across meadows toward he knew not where, conflicting thoughts
invaded his mind.
Part of him wondered how he had ever come to this point. He was a doctor.
A veterinarian. He had a good, peaceful practice out in the country. He
was a quiet, respectable man. A human man. Not one who normally went
around on all fours running away from he knew not what.
The monster. The monster who had killed him. Killed him? How could he
be alive if he was dead? Think, Tim! "I'm a cop." he said. "I'm a
policeman for the yuan-ti. I was specially created for the service of
The image of a scaly, green bird's head invaded his mind, to be replaced a
moment later by that of a cat. Who was this? His master? But his master
was Ssseth. Wasn't it? He was a yuan-ti. A cop. A vetrinarian. Human.
Snake. Wolf. It made no sense at all!
* * *
Disruptor would have been basking in the thrill of the speed she was
traveling if she could manage to draw a decent breath. Being pulled along
by Concord made for a difficult ride. Her glider- wings felt like they
were going to tear right off of their harness. Of course, she dared not
take them off. Better to be towed like some masochistic kite than dragged
along the unforgiving ground.
A blur of light flashed past her and pulled up next to Concord. She hoped
that her companion would have the presence of mind not to slow down quickly.
"(I have found the creature.)" said Beam as he coalesced from a blur to a
human shape. "(You will find him beyond the grove over the next rise, in a
gully which parallels the stream. I have left markers of light which will
be visible to your avian eyesight.)"
"(Excellent work.)" said the hook-nosed speedster. "(Better go check on
the others, then meet us back here.)"
Beam nodded in acknowledgment and transformed once again into a streak of
* * *
Comet was enjoying himself. Glowing as brightly as he could, he flew up
and down and around the embassy, letting his "tail" form dazzling ribbons
behind him. Policemen, both yuan-ti and human cops who happened to be in
the wrong place at the right time, had given up trying to get a bead on the
blur of motion. Every once in a while, he would call out commands, using
the made up names of three different individuals. Shiver responded with
blasts of heat, sound, and quaking, doing his best to ricochet his shots
and make it appear that they were coming from different people.
The effect was as good as they could have hoped. Every enforcer in the
place was in a defensive position, believing that the embassy was under a
massive, concerted attack.
When Beam showed up, it got even better. Suddenly, the air was filled
with freaks galore. Acrobatic avians. Massive giants. Glowing
powerhouses with flames coming out of their eyes. Who had time to notice
that they were all holograms?
* * *
Shtara and Critter-Man had been lurking in the alley until the time was
right. This was it. Snugging an overcoat around Simon, the mink turned
toward the embassy entrance. When the moment was right, they dashed forward.
A guard at the door leveled a nasty-looking SWAT-team issue rifle at the
oncoming creatures. "Who are you?" he demanded."
"Please letting us inside!" Shtara begged. "My friend is very frightened.
He is being so frightened, he is turning into spider in wide daylight!"
Critter-Man shivered as he shifted his jaw and allowed a false set of
mandibles to emerge.
The guard scowled. "What are you trying to pull? Those aren't real man..."
"They are real mandibles."
"Oh. They are real mandibles."
"We need to get inside to safety."
"You folks need to get inside to safety! It isn't safe out here with
these loonies attacking!"
* * *
"We do not wish to hurt you!" cried Concord as he stepped calmly out of
the path of a charging tiger-striped rhino. "We only wish to talk to you!"
"(There's no reasoning with this thing.)" said Disruptor, gliding a safe
"(Nor fighting with it.)" Concord added. "(I am unable to use my speed as
a weapon without inflicting serious injury, and its shape-changing powers
make capture unlikely.)"
"(Same thing here. I can't exactly disintegrate it.)"
The rhino changed into a wolf, still with tiger stripes, and snarled at
Concord. "No talk! You are the enemy!"
"Look, my friend." said Concord, calmly. "It would seem that we are at a
stalemate. I cannot attack you, and I am too fast for you to..." He
didn't finish. Instead, he tried to pry loose the jaws of a tiger-striped
mongoose from his hand. He screamed in agony, even as the teeth grew and
sank deeper. The mongoose was growing into an enormous grizzly.
"Let him go!" shouted Disruptor, her hands glowing with an unearthly blue
light. She looked terror-stricken, but her expression changed abruptly.
This caught the shape-shifter's attention. He wondered what the woman
could be looking so happy about when suddenly a humongous set of fingers
closed around him.
"Drop it." said a deep, resonant voice. Feeling the breath being squeezed
out of him, the polymorph complied.
"Felipe!" cried Concord as he cradled his broken hand. "Am I glad to see
"Sorry I took so long getting to America." said the giant. "The Suzyahn
was extremely busy."
* * *
Shiver was afraid he would be hit, but when it finally happened, the
sensation wasn't at all what he expected. There was very little pain, and
things got dark very quickly. Surprisingly, though, he found himself still
thinking and coherent when things went black. It took him a moment to
realize that he had not been shot at all. He had been teleported.
As his eyes adjusted to the gloom, he could see that he was in a cell. A
cell, which had apparently been broken out of. He could smell chloroform,
ozone, and an earthy, peaty smell which he had learned to associate with
shrinkers. Someone had recently lost a great deal of mass in here.
Feathers all over the floor confirmed this. Apparently a shape-shifter
turned into a bird very recently.
There was a groan from very close by.
Shiver shot to his feet and whirled around to see a yuan-ti, apparently
tied to the bars with his own tendrils.
"He needs help." said a second voice. The young mutant turned to see a
woman in the shadows. A quick inspection showed that she was locked in a
special cell made of some kind of plexiglass. "I can help him. I can ease
his suffering if you'll let me out."
"Someone broken out from here." said Shiver. "Why they leaving you behind?"
"They are misguided, but I bear them no ill will. I only wish to help."
Shiver faced the glass. He held up a hand, which began to shake, violently."
"Yes! That's right! Break the glass, little one, and set me free!"
"Who say anything about set you free?" Replied the greek as he placed his
hand on the wall. When he did, the whole building began to shake."
"What are you doing, you wretched child?" the woman shrieked.
Shiver ignored her. So the yuan-ti needed to be distracted? He'd
* * *
Timothy Wolfe suddenly came to himself as his eyes snapped open. "Where
am I?" he asked in a frightened tone.
"You are among friends." said the hook-nosed man with the bandaged hand.
"What's going on? Who are you? Where am I?"
"That is a very long story, Mister Wolfe. In fact, we could not learn the
whole story until Beam placed you in a hypnotic trance. The truth, it
seems, is very strange indeed."
The shape-shifter sat and listened.
* * *
Critter-Man was growing increasingly fearful. He just heard something in
his mind which scared him beyond anything thus far: The last will and
testament of Hedonism. He prayed to whatever deities might be listening
that he was not too late.
-Oren the Otter
tlhaQ biQ Ha'DIbaH
The Changing Workplace: http://www.geocities.com/ottercomics
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