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This is the first story of Operation Paradise in the Paradise setting.

Victory Starts Here Author: Enphilistor

Victory Starts Here

August 14, 2004

“All right you turd-balls, rise and shine, lets move!”, the sarge's voice throbbed in my ears. I could hear the footsteps of the other members of my basic training dorm already scampering to the showers as I struggled to open my eyes and drag my unwilling body up. It did not work.

During the few weeks I had been in basic training, I would normally awake with aching muscles and sore feet, but an unwelcome throbbing headache and stuffy nose seem to have been added sometime during the night. I heard the sarge's heals clacking on the floor of the now empty dorm, echoing off the walls and making my headache seem to throb all the worse with each step he took as he got closer. “Private McAllister, did you hear me? I said move it!”.

“Yes Drill Sergeant!”, I yelled as best I could with my apparently horse throat as I summoned all my strength to sit up and look at him, somewhat deliriously with a nauseous feeling growing in the pit of my stomach. It is normally a bad idea to look into the eyes of your DS but I must have done so inadvertently. “Are you eyeballing me Private?”, and he was immediately nose to nose with me giving me the stare, eye to eye. If you are in basic training, you never want that to happen. I think he must have been shocked as I fainted and fell back onto my bunk, but I was not out long. I opened my eyes to see him looking down at me strangely with an uncharacteristic frown of concern. “Are you sick, Private McAllister?”.

“Yes Drill Sergeant!”, I said in a froggy whisper that was supposed to be a yell. All Drill Sergeants have remarkably bad hearing unless you yell at them, but somehow he seemed to have heard me anyways and gave me a nod. Some of the others in my Platoon were hustling back from the showers and had already opened their lockers to get dressed or were making their bunks. I always slept on top of mine so I could save time not having to make it every day, as did a few others.

“Private Johnson, help Private McAllister report to the base hospital, then report back to me.”, sarge said.

“Yes Drill Sergeant!”, Johnson yelled. He got dressed first and I tried to stand but felt dizzy and sat back down on the bunk. “Do you think you can walk to the jeep if I get you dressed or should I bring you a wheel chair?”, he asked. I told him confidently that I would be able to walk, but I was really not all that sure. He helped me to my locker, and after I had opened the combination lock he helped me get dressed. I managed to get to the jeep without mishap, but the hospital at Fort Jackson was not that close to our barracks and it took us a full 10 minutes to drive there.

After he helped me fill out the paperwork and get admitted, Johnson left and the nurse had me sit in a wheel chair which was a relief. She wheeled me to an examination room, checked my weight and blood pressure, which she said was low, took my temperature which was 104 F, and told me the doctor would be in shortly. I looked at my watch and it was nearly 0500 hours, my platoon would already have fallen in and started their day of training exersizes.

Normally, there is normally a long wait for everything in the Army, and this was no different, the Doctor came in after about 35 minutes and was holding a clipboard that seemed to have a lot of papers attached to it. He introduced himself and said, “What seems to be the trouble, Private?” he said.

So I explained everything to him, and how I felt. His face showed indecision and I had really expected him to tell me he was going to order some blood work, but instead he looked at the papers on his clipboard and said, “I will have the nurse bring you some pills to help with your headache, fever and upset stomach. She will then bring you to see Major Stanton. Good luck Private.” He turned and left the examination room before I could even ask any questions which I felt bubbling into my mind. Our DS had done his best to try and wipe the word “why?” from our vocabulary, but since I was still new to the Army, I was not sure if this prohibition extended to doctor/patient conversations. I decided it would be best to keep my mouth shut, I would find out what the Major wanted when I talked to him.

After another inordinately long wait, the nurse came in and gave me the prescriptions and gave me a glass of water to help me take the first dose, then she left again. She returned in about 30 minutes just as I had started to doze off and wheeled me down to the lobby where a Corporal introduced herself to me and told me she would being me to the post HQ to talk to the Major. I was starting to feel somewhat better by now as the medicine kicked in, and walked with her to her car, and we drove the half mile or so to HQ. She did not say anything to me in the car, and I held my tongue. I had not even graduated basic training yet and I felt clearly out of my league and did not want to say anything I shouldn't.

We went up the elevator and she escorted me to the Major's office. He told her to wait outside and closed the door as he offered me a chair and sat behind his desk.

“I have just filled out your transfer papers, you are being temporarily reassigned to Scott AFB.”, he began. I was surprised at this and briefly thought of calling my parents and girlfriend to tell them, when he continued. “This is classified and I want you to know that I have no idea what the mission is about.” So much for that idea I thought. He continued, “A week ago, we received orders to be on the look-out for any personnel who suddenly fell ill during the period August 14 through 16, and to transfer them to Scott ASAP. I was also told to inform any such persons that you are not contagious and have nothing fatal to worry about. If necessary, you will be briefed on August 16 at 2200 hours, othewise you will return here. You are asked to refrain from asking any questions from the staff involved as they will be very busy and under instructions not to discuss anything. A helicopter is waiting to fly you to Shaw AFB where you will transfer to a jet that will take you to Scott. We will see that your things are packed and sent to you later. Any questions Private?”.

I had lots of questions, I was totally confused, but I believed him when he said he had no idea what this was about and could not answer any of them, and so I replied, “No Major.” He got up from his desk and guided me to the door and told the Corporal to escort me to the helicopter. Before I left he shook my hand and told me, “Good luck Private!”, and I felt he really meant it and I said, “Thank you Major”.

I was the only passenger in the back of the helicopter. As we took off, I saw in the distance the “Welcome to Fort Jackson! Victory Starts Here!” sign. I wondered when the next time I would be seeing it.

The helicopter flight to Shaw AFB was uneventful, we disembarked and after more waiting a small jet landed and I was escorted on board. To my surprise there were 2 other sick looking passengers covered with blankets, a man and a woman, in the mostly deserted cabin. I introduced myself, and they introduced themselves as Seaman Mike Jenkins from the Navy and Airman First Class Betty Saunders from the Air Force. The jet was already beginning to taxi and I strapped. We all discussed the mystery of our flight briefly and then settled in for our take off. None of us seemed feeling well enough to talk much, and in spite of the medicine, or maybe because of it, I fell asleep soon after take off. I was the first one to awake as we started our decent to land at Scott, and woke the other 2, reminding them to reset their watches for the new time zone.

The sun had set when we disembarked from the jet onto the runway and we got to look around. In the sky I could see 3 or 4 more jets lined up in the sky at various heights for landing. All around us it looked like daytime, lights had been erected to illuminate construction sites where I could see crews were moving and hear the sound of hammering and drilling. I saw a huge metal plate being welded along the hanger next to others that were already in place. What could they possibly be doing reinforcing the hanger like that? In another area it looked like they were building a barrack but as I saw the men walking in and out, it looked like the doors were over 8 foot high 5 feet wide. What the hell? Everywhere we looked there were material being moved and trucks and planes being unloaded.

We arrived at a car and the three of us were driven not to our new barracks as I had thought we would, but to the base hospital where we were admitted. There seemed to be a lot of doctors and nurses on duty for this time of night, all running around. There was a large waiting room, about 40 chairs in which sat about 30 sick looking military personnel from all the different military branches, all different ranks and a wide range of ages, although I did not see anyone that was really old. I went to the bathroom, then got a drink at the water fountain and took my medicine. I had not eaten all day, but did not feel hungry which was surprising.

I stood around listening in on people as they talked, not did not learn anything to help me answer my questions, which we all seemed to have. They were taking one patient about every 5 minutes, so I sat down and prepared for a long night. Another group of people came in and sat down. I dozed for a while, and when I woke every chair was full. I checked my watch and saw I had slept about 90 minutes.

I was happy when they called my name a few minutes later, but not so thrilled when an orderly had me strip naked and took away my clothes and had me put on one of those gowns with no back. I asked about my medicine that was in the pockets and he told me I would not be using any from now on. This did not please me as I thought about spending the next few days feeling like I had felt this morning. They had me lay on a wheeled hospital bed and brought around over the next few hours to various rooms where I would get up and do what they asked and then lay back down on the bed so they could wheel me to the next spot.

First I had my picture taken from all different angles naked. Then in another room they took x-rays of my chest legs, hands and head. In one spot they finally took blood samples I had expected them to take this morning, but they left the needle and tubes attached to my arm, like they were going to come back for seconds, or thirds. In another spot they had me look in a mirror and write down on a form what I looked like to myself in at least 500 words. I felt like I was back in grammar school writing some punishment task our teacher would give us for misbehavior. It took me a while to describe my hair, eyes, ears, nose and mouth, etc., anything I could think of to make 500 words. This was getting stranger and stranger. Then they gave me a hearing and eye test. Finally they took samples of my hair and finger nails which I thought really odd.

Over 4 hours had past and it was the middle of the night when they rolled me into what looked and smelled like a new hospital wing with private bedrooms as far down the hall as I could see. I could hear televisions playing as we passed several rooms and managed a look in one. I could see the room was relatively small, just big enough for a chair and a bed with attached equipment and machines of some type. After about 20 rooms, perhaps a fourth of the way down the hall, I was rolled into what was apparently my room, and I saw that my few things from Fort Jackson had arrived and been placed on the chair. After having me change beds, the orderly pasted some electrodes to my chest and feet, and told me the signal was being fed directly to a computer and not to remove them. A blood pressure sleeve was attached to my arm opposite the needle arm. Then he showed me the controls for adjusting the bed and TV, and gave me a menu and a pencil to check of what I wanted to eat. Surprisingly after 24 hours I was not hungry, but I knew I should eat something so I checked off pancakes and eggs and orange juice on the menu and gave it to him and he left the room. I watched the news for a while, which was the usual stuff about the upcoming elections, the wars in Iran and Afganistan, the weather, etc. The orderly returned with my food, I shut off the TV and surprised myself eating and drinking everything. I was hungrier than I felt. I don't remember the orderly taking the tray away so I must have fallen asleep soon after I finished eating.

August 15, 2004 The orderly woke me about 0900 hours, and asked me how I felt. I answered him and found my voice was still horse, and my headache much more bearable and my stomach felt relatively normal. Perhaps I just had the 24 hour flu and this would be all over soon, I thought to myself. He handed me another menu which I checked off some hamburgers and fries, and then he had me give a urine sample and use a bed pan. I did not even want to think of the tests they would be performing on that.

I did not feel like watching the TV, and since I was a little better, I decided to just think about things. This was not what I had been expecting when I joined the Army. I had graduated high school, I was not stupid but I did not have grades good enough for a scholarship and my mom and dad could not afford to send me to college. My girlfriend for the last 2 years was going to college. It is difficult to explain, I believe in women and men are equal and all that, but I did not like thinking about how she would be smarter than me, make more than me, and that I would always in some way feel inferior, and I wanted to at least be her equal. A military career would provide me with a college degree after I served my time. Sure, I could end up dead someplace over in Afghanistan or Iraq, but really the chances of that were about the same as dying in a car crash here in the US. So about a month after graduation, and with the consent of my parents and encouragement of my girlfriend, I enlisted in the Army. After a few weeks to be accepted and another few weeks of waiting and waiting some more in Reception, I was finally sent to basic training camp just a couple of weeks ago. In spite of all the work and aching muscles and the Drill Sergeants yelling at us, I was actually enjoying it, in an odd sort of way. It was challenging, they made me work harder than I thought I could, and do things I would not have even thought I could. I felt like I was learning a lot, not only about the Army, but about myself.

Then this “flu” came along. I had no better name for it so that is how I was thinking of it in my mind, as the “flu”. The Major had told me that it was not contagious and I had nothing fatal, but why was the military so concerned? It was a mystery but was not in the least bit worried, in fact, I felt comforted by the fact that whatever illness I had, I also had the best health care and doctors working on it in the world.

The orderly interrupted my thoughts as he returned with my hamburgers and fries. He informed me that after I finished he would be rolling me for a repeat of the tests I had taken last night. I nodded to him as I ate my food and he left. A few minutes later, I heard a bed being rolled down the hall and looked to see the occupant was a blond man whose leg was elevated and in a cast. I heard it vanish in the distance, and the sound of an elevator closing. They must be taking him to another floor I thought. After about 5 minutes I heard another bed being rolled down the hall and not having anything better to do except chew on my second hamburger, I looked to see the same man being wheeled in the same direction only he seemed fine with no cast on his leg. “Twins? Hmmmmmm”, I thought. They must have been bringing in new patients all through the night and I had been too busy sleeping to notice. I did a quick calculation, I had slept about 6 hours so that would be at least 120 patients if they maintained an average rate of 5 minutes each. “How big is this place?” I wondered. I looked at my watch and decided to time the next bed. Sure enough, after five minutes and 13 seconds I heard the next bed approaching. I could hear the orderly telling the patient to read the forms carefully and that he would be doing the country a great service if he signed his consent. I did not have to sign any forms when I was coming down the hall, so did that mean the patient was a civilian? I saw the feet first pass my door followed by the hands holding a clipboard with attached papers and then his blond hair. “No way! Triplets?”, I exclaimed mentally. As I ate my fries, I timed the next bed which took 5 minutes 38 seconds and held a brunette woman.

My orderly returned and disconnected me from my machines, I transferred beds, and we basically repeated all the tests from yesterday, only the wait between tests was about 2 times as long so it was nearly 9 hours later when I was brought back, reconnected to my old bed, and given supper. My throat had not cleared and my headache seemed a little worse, and while I still did not feel hungry, I ordered some salmon and potatoes. I noticed beds still being rolled past my door and timed them still at about one every 5 minutes. Perhaps it was not new patients but people such as myself being retested, or perhaps a mix. Anyways I was feeling tired and a little sick and went easily to sleep.

August 16, 2004 My orderly awoke me later than yesterday, it was just 1000 hours, and we did the bed pan thing again. I ordered and ate the same thing and he disconnected me and we transferred beds. We repeated the tests again, but this time there seemed to be many more doctors and nurses fluttering around, while there seemed to be less patients. The tests seemed to take even longer though dragging on and on. On the bright side, after they removed my last blood sample, they removed the needle that had been in my arm. The sun was going down by the time they were all finished with me and I found myself being wheeled to a small bus, not back to my room as I expected.

Others were already on the shuttle bus in those dreadful hospital gowns and we all did our best to hold them around ourselves, especially the women. In a way it was good. Nobody had any rank insignia, we were all equal in not knowing what was going on. The bus drove us to the large hanger that I had seen when I first arrived, only every inch was now covered in plate, every window was covered and the bus drove into the dark entrance, we entered what can only be described as an air-lock. A second set of doors slid behind us and another set opened in front and the bus continued forward.

On the inside of the hanger we all strained to look around and get a good view. Several gurneys overhead contained lots of equipment that could be moved back and forth or raised or lowered. Some of it looked like cameras, others looked like coils that reminded me of ray guns. They were all aimed towards the center of the hangar where there were hundreds of square white pads arranged evenly to fill the space of a complete circle. Each square pad was about a yard on its side and a yard from its neighbor. On each pad was a wire chair connected to equipment that looked the same as that on the hospital bed I had been attached to the past few days.

The bus drove past this and headed to what can best be described as an auditorium set up and the corner of the hanger. There were about 90 chairs in 6 rows facing a stage that contained a podium with a microphone and some speakers, and a large screen, and 4 chairs. On either side of the stage two guard were posted, and I noticed their guns. Some technicians were also milling about testing lighting and equipment. The bus stopped about 50 feet from the chairs next to a buffet table full of assorted food to which we could help ourselves that I had not seen as we drove up. We all got out and were instructed to take a seat wherever we liked. The bus took off one we had all disembarked presumably to bring another group.

I sat in the back row, not wanting to be conspicuous. It was comfortable in the hanger considering the clothing we all wore, and the 15 or so people on the bus with me mostly found spots by themselves lost in their own thoughts, as I did, while we waited for another group to arrive. This group contained the 3 blond men I had seen the man with the cast being helped by the other two and they all sat together. The man with the cast seemed to be the ill one while the other two seemed just fine. I looked at my watch when the next bus arrived and it was 1230 hours, and more patients got off, some looking less ill than others. I did not feel 100% but other than my voice, I could probably pass for healthy if someone looked at me. Some of these people were sweating while others were coughing. There were about 50 of us now, only 8 were women and the rest male, with about half the chairs unfilled, which was fine with me since I got to spread out more. I did not see either of the 2 people who had accompanied me on my flight from Shaw to Scott.

Another bus arrived about 15 minutes later but there were no patients. A man and a woman got off almost together both wearing civilian clothing, and walked together to the stage. As I looked at the man, the woman next to him seemed incredibly short, but when I focused on her I saw they were really almost the same size. Odd I thought maybe this flu is affecting my vision. Next, six military types got off, the ones that usually act as body guards for important people. Two of them carried a large box. They waited until an officer and a man in civilian clothing got off then escorted them both to the stage. I could tell the officer was in the air force by his uniform but I could not see his rank until he got closer, and my jaw dropped as I saw the 5 stars in a circle that was his insignia. Although I was new in the service, I knew 5 star generals in the air force are only appointed during times of war. Once they got on stage, the General took a chair next to the other two civilians while the man he was with approached the microphone and started to speak.

He introduced himself as some Senator but I did not catch his name and I was still recovering from the shock of seeing the General, as I am sure the others were as well. I forced myself to pay attention.

“Thank you all for your patience and being here today. I know you are all anxious to know what is going on, and this briefing will explain that and how your help has and will be vital to your country. But First, let me introduce the people behind me: General of the Air Force Thomas Cranford, Doctor Sydney Walker and his Wife Dr. Martha Walker.”. After each had stood up as their name was mentioned he continued.

“In the past three days, over 4,000 people in the armed services who exhibited flu like symptoms were flown here and tested, and retested, for known viruses using the latest DNA and protein tests available. When it was found that they were suffering from a known virus, they were transferred back to their original posts. Only you 48 people have no known virus to account for your symptoms. In fact, we are unable to find any active viruses at all in your cells. There is a reason for this, but before that is explained, you need to know that both Dr. Martha Walker and I went through the same illness, if you want to call it that, that you are going through now. So I am going to let her explain, since she is the one who has the Doctorate in Psychology.”.

Doctor Martha walked up and grabbed the microphone as the Senator sat in a chair. Walking around the stage casually and looking us all in the eye, she started talking, “So, how do you think I look? I am only 27, do I look good for 27?” and she turned around once or twice. One of the guys in the front yelled, “Yea, your hot!”. This just struck everyone as funny, after the tension we had been feeling while the Senator had been talking, and we all started clapping for the guy who was brave enough to say that as she started laughing too. Even her husband was laughing. We all felt much more relaxed.

She continued when the applause died down. “Well, make up can do wonders now days, but in reality I don't look this good. A year ago, I got sick just like you all did around this same time. I did not think anything of it, flu is natural and I just canceled all my patients and stayed home and let my husband take care of me.”, she said as she smiled at him and blew him a kiss, and he laughed as we all did.

“He was a physics professor at that time at the University of Michigan, and during the summer he had no classes to teach and could stay at home with me for a few days. So I let him pamper me a few days until I woke up about 4 AM on Thursday August 27 feeling not exactly ill, but not normal. So I figured it was time for him to get up and let him do some pampering so I gave him little jab in the ribs and said, 'Honey, I am not feeling normal.' So he rolls over and slides his arms around me with his eyes still closed and says, “So maybe you are in the mood for something a little ..abnormal?". We all cracked up laughing and her husband yelled out to us “Its true!” and we all laughed harder, even the General and Senator. When we simmered down she continued, “So I said, 'Honey, I am serious!' and so he slides his hands up and grabs me here”, she grabbed her right breast with her hand, “and says in the most calm voice you can imagine, 'I don't know when you grew fur around your breasts, but it feels really soft!'. And everyone just cracked up, it was just such a funny and unexpected thing to say. She continued, “Now that is NOT what any woman ever wants to hear come from her husband's lips so I pulled his arm off me and jumped out of bed. I did not think it was at all funny, even as a joke. So he sat up and looked at me with those baby eyes of his. I knew that he was going to try and snuggle me so I pointed my finger at him and and said, “ You stay away from meeeeeeeee...ahhhh!”. She had turned to him on the stage and was acting it out, pointing her finger and screaming as she looked at it strangely. “So he immediately jumps out of bed too trying to see what I am screaming about and asking me what is wrong. I looked in the mirror on the dresser and knew immediately he could be not seeing what I was, so I told him to close his eyes and feel my hand. Notwithstanding his previous observation about my breasts, being a scientist, he found this fascinating, opening and closing his eyes as his sense of touch told him one thing and his vision told him another. Eventually, he said to me, 'You know, this is impossible, but I believe you are changing into a large mink. Over the next hour or so he was following my changes with me as my face and ears changed and I grew a tail and shrank. Once I had stopped we decided to go to his lab for some physical tests. And for the next few days I felt probably about how you are all feeling here tonight. His attitude and calmness and humor made it so much easier for me, I was upset but I don't think I would have handled it at all well if I was all alone and did not have his support and company. I hope that we can make it easier for you tonight when you all undergo your changes.”.

She looked around us all and continued, “None of you believe me?” And the guy who told her before that she was hot spoke up again, “No way!” but nobody applauded this time, we did not know what to think. So she continued, “Guards can you open up that box now and distribute the containers inside it to everyone please? Nobody open them until I tell you, OK? I am going to turn the briefing over to my husband now, all yours Honey!”, and she handed him the microphone.

“You have all seen optical illusions, and how 2 lines can be identical in length but look to be different sizes? This is due to the way the nerves in our eyes and brains are organized. Something about each cell in my wife's body was causing me to see one thing while my mind was seeing another, but my sense of touch was unchanged. And it was not just me, it also affected her too, she can see any clothing she wears except shoes and no matter what shoes she wears they seem to vanish from her sight. No physical laws in the universe were being broken buy out minds were being subjected in some way to an really advanced holographic image that only existed in our own minds. Furthermore this illusion can also be transmitted by pictures, so that to herself or other changed a picture appears to be a mink while for me and other unchanged it appears to be changed. However a black and white picture of a black and white picture showed a mink. So I reasoned that removing certain colors from the spectrum might be able to break the effect on our nervous systems and developed these glasses that will enable to see my wife and the Senator in the real forms. Some people who might have damaged their nervous systems in an accident or have some color blindness have also been reported to see through this illusion, as well as people who are close to changing themselves where the nerve connections have started to change. How many here have noticed something odd in their vision when not quite looking at my wife or the Senator?". I raised my hand as did a few others. The guard slipped my container into my raised hand. I was the last due to sitting in the back.

“The last thing I want to say, and this will be important for you to understand later, is that the setting up this neuronal illusion requires an outside source of energy. Imagine the sun shining on the moon and you can see it, remove the sun and the moon goes out. Using photo detectors to measure the amount of light reflected from the skin of a changed person verses a normal person and accounting for heat absorption and light scattering, more energy was emitted or absorbed than the total energy of the incident light. Something, someplace, is adding energy and maintaining the ability for changed cells to induce the illusion in our brain's neuronal nets. Confused? “ He looked around the room and I saw a few people nodding that they were. “OK, don't worry about it, I will explain it some more later. Everyone you can all put on the glasses now, and I will turn the briefing back to the Senator.”.

I opened my container and donned the glasses and could see that indeed his wife did look like a large, cute and cuddly mink. The Senator however looked more like a lion, but surprisingly he sounded just normal. I was wondering what I would change into and how I would tell my parents and girlfriend, but it did not really upset me as much as I thought it would, and I think seeing how well the Senator and the two doctors were handling it had a lot to do with that feeling.

The Senator began, “I suppose every changed has their own story to tell, so I'll tell you mine although it is not all that interesting. I am not married and I am member of the Intelligence Committee. These changes are happening to people all over the world. They are not common. There are about 2.5 million people in the armed forces and reserves, and we tried to get everyone we could and we just got you 48. I am sure we missed some but we did our best. But there are others who change alone, who think they are the only ones. They think they are going insane or if they try to tell others, they are not believed and some have ended up committed. Some have tried to search out others and organize support groups on the internet. One group in particular was paranoid that the government was doing this to them, believing some experiment had gone bad, and that we were going to kill them. This became a security concern when they tried to secure weapons to use in their “defense”. Thus I became informed of what was going on over 18 months ago. When I got “the flu” a year ago, I had a suspicion that this might happen, although it was much more than likely I had just a common flu virus, as so many of the ones we sent home in the last few days did. But I canceled all my appointments for August 17 anyways, bought a bottle of Scotch, got drunk sometime at night on the sixteenth and woke up like this the next afternoon. Then I went back to work the next day.”.

The talkative guy in the front obviously liked that and yelled, “Right on Senator! You got any of that Scotch left? I could use a stiff drink about now too!” Everyone laughed and started clapping. “When Dr. Martha Walker saw me on TV a few days later, she and her husband contacted me . They showed me what they had discovered about the illusion field and how something was maintaining it by adding energy to every changed human being on the planet. By the way this was known to some support groups as the Reality Distortion field, but was really had nothing to do with distorting reality or the fundamental laws of the universe, just our own perceptions. I showed them some of the statistics one of the support groups had gathered and they extrapolated from there and then, I contacted the President who convened the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and this is where I turn things over to the General. General?”, and he handed the microphone to the General.

“Can I have the first slide please?” he said politely to the technicians. This slide appeared on the screen:

Year AD Total Changed Total Populace Changed, as %age of total populace

“The first documented change occurred in 1987 and appears to double every year. Using simple math and an over all population increase of about 1.2% each year, by the year 2020 mankind will no longer exist.” He paused for effect and I thought, “Wow, this is getting heavy!”.

He continued, “There might be some humans who have a natural resistance to whatever is causing the changing and so there may be a still few scattered humans left around someplace at the end of this time, but they would be outcasts. Can I have the second slide please?” he asked. This slide appeared on the screen:

Year AD Total Changed Total Populace Changed, as %age of total populace 35 2021 7,628,876,783 7,628,876,783 100% 36 2022 7,537,330,262 7,537,330,262 100% .(fill in with numbers) . 135 2120 < 1,000 <1,000 100%

This slide shows the birth rate for the changed. Most couples for whom one spouse has changed are biologically unable to have children, even if they are able to overcome the cultural and psychological taboos. Matings between different species is remarkably biologically possible but the offspring are changed with a 50/50 chance of acquiring the animal side of either parent. However, whatever mating signals or pheromones are present for matings among similar species, mixed species couples are not sexually attracted to each other. For most couples they will either remain married and childless, or be unfaithful or get divorced in order to find a sexually acceptable mate. Within 110 years, civilized and intelligent life on earth will be gone, if these current trends continue unchanged. My job is to see this does not happen. We are at war ladies and gentlemen, a war to save the human race that will vanish in 16 years, against an enemy that we do not know, that is scientifically far more advanced than us and whose motives are unknown.”. He paused to let that sink in, and there was not a sound or murmur from anyone.

“The joint chiefs have explored all possible scenarios and theories for what is causing these changes in people that is consistent with the current data we have at this time. I am going to review a few of them with you and our planned responses. The first scenario, and our biggest concern, is that we are being invaded by an advanced race from another planet that seeks to take over our planet for themselves. It is likely that in any direct invasion or landing we would deploy our nuclear weapons against them that would likely make much of the planet uninhabitable for thousands of years, which the invaders would not want to occur. Under this scenario, they are content to simply wait a hundred until we are gone and then colonize the Earth. Critics of this scenario argue that the invaders could just introduce a virus that would lower the human birth rate, or eliminate it entirely, or just change us directly into full animals outright, or even just kill us all with a viral plague immediately. They argue that changing people into half-animals, half humans is technologically more difficult and less efficient if the goal is simply to wipe us out while causing the least damage to the planet, and therefore the invasion scenario is unlikely.”.

“The second theory, popular among the changed support groups on the internet, is that some superior being either native to this universe or from without, has decided to have some fun with us, either out of boredom or some purpose to achieve some good and whose motives we can not understand. This is known by the ROB scenario, where ROB stands for Random Omnipotent Being. Supporters of this theory believe that ROB is seeking to create a type Paradise, a new Garden of Eden type of existence where everyone lives as half animals known on the internet as “furies”, in harmony with full animals and nature. Such a world be incompatible with our current industrialized society with our current population. Critics of this scenario argue that any intelligent Omnipotent being would be able to achieve that result in a faster and more logical direct manner by direct contact and instructions to us than by randomly changing the entire population to furies with no instructions.”.

“The third theory, and the last I am going to discuss, is that these changes are being caused by some small group of humans that have either developed this advanced technology themselves, or have acquired it from some functional alien artifact, such as crashed space ship. Under this scenario, this group of dictators have decided to change the world to suit their dreams or fantasies, and don't really care about the suffering it causes to anyone else who have different dreams. Critics of this scenario argue that it would take a great deal of specialized knowledge to understand any alien technology this advanced and that no single human could understand it or keep it secrete this long without help. Any attempt to assemble a group with that specialized knowledge would have revealed the discovery of the artifact to us already.”.

“Regardless of which of the above scenarios is true, or some of other scenarios I have not mentioned, our response has been organized into three groups, who are to work together, assist each other, coordinate results and share information. I have been placed in charge of the Military Group, Doctor Sydney Walker has been placed in charge of the Science Group, to coordinate methods and develop technologies for understanding how these changes are being caused, and his wife Dr. Martha Walker has been placed in charge of the Social Impact Group. I have already explained my purpose, now I will turn the briefing back to Dr. Martha who will explain her group.”. He handed the microphone back to her as she walked from her chair and back to the center of the stage.

“Thank you General. As you can all understand the news of these changes will have a great impact on society, and my job is to find ways to prepare society for these changes to minimize social disruption, such as riots and chaos when it is revealed. Over the next few years I plan to work with the media to gradually introduce the ideas of “furies” into our mainstream culture, in magazines, television and movies. We plan to start production next year of the prototype glasses my husband created for use by medical and law enforcement personnel to identify people who have changed and give appropriate help. I am hoping to enlist some of you here today as councilors in this effort. We have to work with industry to start industrial design work now, I can tell you now that trying to do anything even a simple typing with claws instead of hands really sucks. If we want our civilized society to continue, assuming in 16 years we will all be furies, we need to redesign and build practically every tool and machine to work with many different sizes and shapes of claws and hoofs well before then. Without this, a violent and tragic failure of the infra structure will occur as food can not be produced or delivered into cities, and machines and factories can not be operated. The 110 year time line will be greatly shortened as the world becomes not a Paradise, but a living hell of starvation and fighting over increasingly resources as survival of the fittest becomes the rule and civilization collapses back into the dark ages. I hope we can figure out how to stop these transformations from occurring before 2020. But if we can't, we need to take actions now to make sure our civilization can survive it. I will also be working with hospitals to promote and encourage artificial insemination to help raise the birth rates among furies who wish to have children with their partners, and who can not overcome the social and psychological taboos. I know my husband and I wanted to have a family, and this has been very emotional for us as well. For our children, I hope this will be less of a problem and the natural fury birth rate will improve, but I believe it will remain a very real problem for the humans who changed the next 50 years. The department I am setting up has a budget of over 2 billion dollars a year, and I believe we can succeed, indeed we have to, if we are to survive. And now I will turn the briefing over to my husband who will explain the experiments you will participate in a few hours and what all this fantastically expensive setup is for.” As she turned to give the microphone to her husband, the talkative guy in the front stood up and started clapping and then everyone else followed and gave her a standing ovation. She smiled and curtsied cutely and said thank you and went to her seat.”.

Her husband began, “We need to know what is happening and how. To achieve that, you have been gathered here to participate in a series of experiments. Similar groups have been assembled in Russia and China, who are the only countries who were able to organize a program in this short time frame.”.

“When my wife changed, she lost about 30 pounds. Now, I did not think much about it at the time, with all excitement about her change, but I recall struggling to get my pants on and irritated over it because I was in a hurry to take her to the lab. One of the laws of the universe is conservation of mass and energy. Did some of her weight get transferred to me during the process? It had to go someplace. This hanger has been sealed completely from the outside, no air can even get in or out. The pads you will shortly be standing or sitting on are large scales. Your weight will be continuously . The air pressure is also being recorded, as is the temperature. There are two tared sealed vats containing enriched deuterium water, one in the center and one over here behind the stage.”. We all turned our heads to see the cylindrical glass vats.

“Our goal is to see if any of that water ends up in any of your bodies and how much. My hypothesis is that the total mass and energy in this hanger will remain unchanged over the period everyone is transforming. We hope the cameras and coils on the gurneys overhead will capture this. They are designed to capture all light frequencies from far infrared to near x-rays. Synchronized shutter speeds on over 1000 cameras enable the taking of one photograph in the time a photon of light travels one yard. You might recall earlier when I talked to you about the Sun shining on the moon? We believe that some object or force is in effect shining a “light” on your bodies and within that “light” instructions are contained that orchestrate and accelerate the changes that have already started to occur in your chromosomes. The coils will try and record that signal so the computers can analyze it. We believe that this signal originates from one spot and travels at the speed of light to every affected person on the earth, since data collected indicates that changes happen at consistent but different times in different time zones but all at approximately the same time globally. You will all be arranged on the pads and we are hoping to catch the effect of these signals as it “illuminates” each of you along its path. Using this data, along with the data and timing from the other two countries with similar systems, we hope to be able to triangulate and determine where on the earth or space this signal is coming from within 100 feet.”.

“Our last experiment concerns the causes of the flu-like symptoms you have experienced. To help us determine if the change can be transmitted, one of these blond triplets here consented to undergo a transfusion from his identical twin in the cast. The other brother will be a control. As a side benefit, we expect the brother with the cast will have his broken bone fully mended during the transformation and the scar in his skin from his fall fully repaired in his new body.”. I thought of a few scars I would be happy to be rid of as well.

“Now, let me briefly outline what you can expect after the change. Although we can find no viral proteins in any of your cells, one theory is that it might be a naked reverse transcription RNA virus or a collections of smaller RNA working together. The DNA in your cells is already being changed in any case regardless of how, in ways that viruses, and bacteria for that matter, have not had time to adapt. The animal DNA and antibodies protect you from many human disease while the human ones protect you from those that would affect the animal. You will find that after you change in a few hours, you will seldom get sick, and will feel much healthier than you have ever before. But there are some other effects you should be aware of. Some cases have been reported where a person gets the flu symptoms every year and changes to something else. In other cases, a persons gender can be reversed. Both are rare.

“Finally, my last topic regards the personal tests we performed on each of you. During PCR tests we performed on your blood work, we determined the amount of animal DNA in your cells and to which animal it belongs and your amount of X-chromosome. We know that there is only one person here that will undergo gender change tonight, and we know which type of fury each of you will all become. Everyone will be able to watch everyone else change in a few hours, and so keeping this information private and confidential is not required. Further, my wife tells me that knowing in advance will help you all be better prepared psychologically to adjust to the transformation. With that I am going to stand when I call each your names in alphabetical order, I will state the gender and type of transformation you will undergo, then please be seated.” He began calling names. They all seemed to be taking it fairly well as he read their names and they stood and sat in turn. I noticed that the talkative guy in the front was going to be a leopard, while the blond guy with the cast, and perhaps his brother, was going to be a deer. He announced one of the prettier women was going to be a cow and not a single person even snickered. Then it was my turn and I stood holding my breath. “ Paul McAllister, …..female pig.”. I was grateful nobody made any comments as I sat down trying to come to terms what I had just heard.

I was still trying to sort my thoughts as he finished reading the last name and two full bus appeared from which doctors and nurses departed. We were instructed to go to our pads where we would sit or stand totally naked while the cameras photographed us as we changed. We were connected to the same equipment that had been used in the hospital bed, except that a small mirror had been attached so we could see ourselves if we wanted.

By this time, I had recovered from my initial shock. I looked at my watch and it was 2350 hours. As I waited, I felt like I was back on my base when the Drill Sergeant was yelling at us to do something we knew we could not do, our muscles straining and aching telling us we could not do it, but when we really tried with our minds and our wills we could. This was not going to be easy for me, it would hurt in lots and lots of ways. But I had learned enough about myself in training to know that regardless of the body I would wear, that victory starts here: within my mind, my will and my soul.

The End

To be continued in the next story when I know the results of Dr. Sydney Walker's experiments. Separator k.png