by Mike Brotzman
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It was almost 8:45 and people were arriving for work. I turned
back into the building. The dean in charge on my case was waiting
"So, are we finished playing 'meet the press'?"
"Yeah. Hey, look at the money I got. I can start a hoard."
I held up the box full of money. "That's super. Next time please inform me before you hold another media circus."
"Sure, sorry. Hey, I was wondering if you could get ITS to give me another e-mail address. Something like firstname.lastname@example.org."
"I'll see what I can do, but you have more important plans for today."
He walked me back to my room while I went through my box of money. I counted about 600$ in 10's and 20's and a few odd bits of gold chain or a ring. "I'm sorry, I know it stinks, bit you're in for a day of medical tests."
What did I expect? Of course they would need to do this.
"Here is Dr. Winston Smith and his assistant Sarah Morgan. We were able to get him on the research team that will be studying you."
My room now contained a large variety of medical instruments and specimen jars.
"Be sure to cooperate fully, I'll leave you three alone and make sure you aren't disturbed."
He left the room and closed the door.
"So, you must be Michael. It's pretty wild turning into a dragon and all. I'm just going to examine you so we can better meet your dietary and medical needs, should the need arise."
He picked up a pair of pliers off the table.
"I'm just going to..."
"Hey," I asked, "Where did they get you from on such short notice? Where do you usually work?"
It was Sarah who answered. "The North Side Animal Clinic."
"What! You're a vet! I don't even rate a human doctor any more?!"
"Please, keep your voice down. You're booming. I'm sorry, but I do think that I could better suit your needs. I may work on animals, but that doesn't mean I'm any less skilled as a human only doctor."
"Yeah, keep telling yourself tha -- aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrghgh!!!"
Dr. Smith was holding a bloody scale in the pair of pliers. Suddenly, half out of instinct and half out of rage I lashed out with, hitting the Doctor in the gut with the back of my hand. He flew across the room and into my sleeping area. A second later the red haze of rage passed and I was dismayed at what I had done. I moved over to him expecting serious injury, but luckily he was only bruised.
"Oh, shit. I am so so so very sorry. Are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I need to be more careful when working around wild animals."
"Alright. You win. No more vet jokes." I helped him up and he limped over to pick up the scale.
"I'm going to need a black one too. This time I think I'll numb the area." He took a long needle, pried up a black scale and injected some pain killer around the base. He then took the pair of pliers and artfully pulled out another scale. It felt like someone pulling out a clump of hair. Just without the pain. He sprayed on some clotting agent and took pictures that would be used to study my healing process. My scales were hard and smooth, sorta like Bakelite only stronger. The small ones were only about an inch square while the larger ones, usually on my body, measured about 6 by 3 inches. They fit like shingles and they pointed backward to let me squeeze through things. With some effort they could be bent up to gain access to my tough hide that would then be exposed at their base. Large plates with lots of overlap and not much lifting room covered my belly.
"Ok my brave boy, you can look now."
Alright, I admit it. I looked away. Ripping off parts of my body makes me a bit squeamish.
"Alright dragon, now we need you blood. You wouldn't know where your veins are, would you?"
::scoff:: "You're the 'Doctor'."
It took him a few minutes, but after listening and poking he lifted up another scale and began to draw vial after vial of blood. Instead of red it was much darker, like a maroon or a deep purple. It was hard to tell it from black.
"Jeez, leave a little for me."
"Don't worry, we're almost done. Than I'll need a sample of your hair."
"Watch it. I don't have very much, and I really like having hair."
I winced as he snipped about an inch off of one of my black locks that fell around my horns. Then to even things up he took some from the other side. He then proceeded to take scrapings from my claws, horns and various spikes, being careful not to make a noticeable gouge or to dull a point. My claws were jet black, and on the inside edge just below the tip the claw, had a sharp edge that could slice a piece of paper. If I ever learned how to shape shift I would deal with that hazard, but for now I had the fine Doctor cover them with black gaffer tape. My horns, on the other hand, were pure silver and had horizontally banded ridges. All throughout the exam Dr. Smith was taking detailed photographs with a hi-tech digital camera and his assistant was racing the samples over to the lab for analysis.
"Ok, now we'll need a urine sample. This jug can hold 7 gallons. Just aim into this funnel and let her rip. Don't be embarrassed; it's nothing I haven't seen before, in concept anyway."
After I nearly filled the jug he asked if I could produce a stool sample, but I told him I didn't have to go yet. His next request caught me a bit off guard.
"You want a what?!"
"How would you propose to get it? I'm not going anywhere near my 'guy' with these!" I shoved my pointy claws in his face. "And I don't want you down there either."
"Perish the thought. Sarah, get in here!" he called out, "I believe my assistant can provide you with some erotic manipulation sufficient to obtain a sample."
I knew that I could just say no. I probably should have said no, but I was really curious what it would now feel like and Sarah was rather cute. I lay down and dropped it out.
"Hey, listen. I don't want to find out that you used my sperm to like create some half dragon monster things. If I find out you're doing any shit like that, I'll rip your limbs out and eat them in front of you."
"I fully understand, and you can trust me that it will only be used to gain a better understanding of what you have become. Oh by the way Mike, here's one quick experiment."
He unfolded a large poster of some supermodel lying nude on a beach. My cock sprang to attention faster than a marine.
"Well, at least you're still partly human."
Sarah had no grasped my member and was now working it around. It did not look like she was going to start sucking it or anything like that. I guess I was still just a patient. The giddy glow soon turned into waves of warm pleasure. A rhythmic sound filled the room. It was me, I was purring! Oh wow this felt good! I wanted to cry out, but the purring just got louder until I swear objects on the metal trays were rattling. I then started to emit a whine from the back of my throat. In one final wave of pleasure I peaked, thrusting my hips out and nearly knocking things over. The purr died away. Fuck, that felt good. I felt all hot and damp. Jesus, I was sweating. I didn't know dragons could do that. The Doctor was already wiping up sweat samples. Apparently it was released at the base of scale and would just work its way out to the surface. I looked at the pint jar now filled with my seed. I literally felt drained. Drained, tired and thirsty.
"You've been a very good patient. Let's break for lunch."
Good, I needed it.
Lunch consisted of several trays of chicken legs, several pots of mixed cooked vegetables, miscellaneous fruits and a few Igloo coolers full of some syrup+water fruit drink. As far as I could tell, my digestive system had no problem with non-meats. I was tempted to find out if I could digest grass and leaves, but since it was the middle of January the required greenery was not available. Someone had made a run down to Home Depot and had procured me some utensils. Filling in for the spoon was a garden trowel, the table fork was replaced by a spading fork and for the knife a cheap machete (although I found my claws much more effective). Usually I would just spear the particular food item and then suck it off my claw. The trowel would only make an entrance when I wanted to eat something along the line of peas.
While the dynamic duo was off somewhere performing tests (or getting it on) I was paid a visit by a frowning Dean of Student of Student Affairs.
"A funny thing just happened. I was calmly eating my lunch when my secretary tells me to turn on the noon news. I then see our resident dragon, giving a press conference on our loading dock and throwing a reporter into one of our dumpsters!"
He was shouting now.
"Maybe I'm confused here! Who the fuck gave you permission to hold a press conference? Who the fuck gave you permission to assault a reporter!? I can't wait to hear your explanation."
He crossed his arms and raised his eyebrows. "The reporters gave me a box full of money and told me some things I could do to liven up their story." Well, it was basically true.
"The reporters told you!!? Why on earth were you talking to reporters?"
"Well I thought --"
"That's the problem right there! You thought. Listen carefully. I don't want to have tell this to you again. While you are living at this school, you represent this school. Stunts like the one you just pulled not only make you look like a monster, which you just might be, but make this school look bad!" He stopped yelling and went about regaining some of his composure. His face gradually faded from beet-red to more of a lavender. He pulled out a little black book and motioned for me to move my head over. His voice now calm and reasonable, he continued.
"Let's see who's been asking about you, shall we?" Holding the book so I could see he began to point out names.
"The town called, you might be violating zoning regulations and the fire code. The Middletown police called, they can't guarantee your safety and, for some strange reason, they think you constitute a public safety hazard. The Connecticut Board of Health says that you're not sanitary, the ASPCA says that our facilities are not adequate and the folks down at Animal Control think that you should be gelded. Have I made my point clear?"
"Yes!" I replied with an indignant tone.
" I don't think I have. Let's go on to page 2 shall we? Oh, the Connecticut State Police called to inform us they have assembled a 'quick response team' in case It goes out of control. How thoughtful, they even left a call back number in case we required their services."
He was openly mocking me now.
"Ok, the national guard called asking for photographs so that they can better track you by helicopter. Last but certainly not least, the CDC called and said you should be considered infectious and thusly quarantined. Now we were able to put our reputation on the line and use what little influence we had to make your little problems go away, but since you like to 'think' maybe you should handle this alphabet soup. You can use your reputation and your influence. If you enjoy being so independent, you can walk right out that door right now, but as long as you are a part of this University you will follow our guidelines." The mocking had been replaced by deadly seriousness. "This university doesn't like to look bad, or to affiliate itself with monsters." He paused for a second. "CUT THE CRAP!" Then, back in his quiet, nice voice, "Now let me hear you say it."
At first I had felt like tearing him a new one, but his little presentation had completely disarmed me. He was completely right. "Yes," I replied sheepishly.
It takes a big dragon to admit when he's wrong. "Yes, I'll cut the crap and I won't do something so stupid again."
"It's not about being stupid. Just exercise a little better judgment next time. I know you can. I just wanted you to see things from my point of view. Now are we all friends?"
His sugary sweet voice had coated any anger I had left. "Yeah."
"Good, now go on and have a great afternoon. I have to catch a meeting. Don't make me have to come down here again."
As fun as it was, I really needed to restrain myself until things settled down. What might be funny a month from now was liable to get me shot today. I felt like mumbling. "Stupid reporters and their stupid money. Think they can flash a little green and get me... Hey where is my money?" I had completely lost track of it. Something told me to look under my pillows. I lumbered over, brushing aside the pillows to pick up the box. I didn't remember putting it there. I shouldn't leave this lying around; better put it in the closet. My eyes involuntarily glanced down into the box and made contact with Andrew Jackson. It would be a shame not to count it.
Well the first time I counted it I had $647. Pointy claws made counting a little difficult, but I wanted to be extra sure so I counted again and to my horror I only got $646. Where was the rest of my money? It was my money and it was gone. Where was my money! Wait, calm down, maybe I just miscounted. I'll try this again.
Luckily the next three times I counted I got $647 again so I could stop counting and sort the bills into piles. Mine, all mine. I closed my eyes and stuck my snout amongst the piles, inhaling deeply and letting the rich (literally) aroma flow through me. Ahhhhhhhhh. The smell of different denominations jumped into my mind. The two fifties smelled best. Dignified, like rich leather or aged wine. Mmmmm, the newer design bills added a sassy zing to the potpourri. Slowly, luxuriously, I gathered up my wad of cash and slipped it under my sleeping pads to keep it hidden from thieves. It was mine. Mine, mine, mine! And nobody was going to take it from me!
I circled around a couple of times and then lowered myself into a coil of silver death on top of my money. Nobody was going to take my money. Hissssssss.
Wait... this was stupid. I didn't want to spend my time watching over some lame-ass hoard. Money is to be exchanged for goods and services. I casually threw a blanket over the camera and lifted up my pad and carefully took my money out, making sure I had it all. After making sure a third time I opened up a closet and, blocking my actions from view, I stuck the money in a thick book, then stuck the book in a cabinet, then piled boxes of old 3 ring binders in front of the cabinet. There, that was much safer than under my bed. I could go on a spree later. If I could set aside my instinctual greed that is. I'd even try to give all my clubs a little budget increase. Nothing improves public opinion like throwing money around. Tee hee, if I could glean $600 from a 20 minute interview, imagine what glorious wealth an exclusive or a product endorsement could rake in. And then that wealth could buy stocks, bonds, gold, investments...
I'd always wanted to own a nice profitable multi-national... I sank into a little daydream and didn't notice that the vet and his charming intern had returned.
"What are you looking at?"
::sigh:: "My dream car."
"That looks like a wall to me. Maybe after you regain your sanity we can talk."
"Fuh- ney." I retorted. The 'doctor' presented me with this afternoon's lineup. Most of the poking and prodding was over and we were moving to quantitative testing. Things like, "Read the bottom line."
"Can you hear the tone?"
"How about now."
"Yes, but it's faint."
"Congratulations, you've entered a hearing range normally reserved for dogs."
And so on for an hour. I could see adequately in the equivalent of starlight and I could even see a little infrared and ultraviolet. I moved every part of my body as he carefully videotaped it. It was getting rather repetitive - until he got out a propane torch.
"What's that for?"
"I need to check your heat tolerance. Put your arm out."
"My arm has enough missing scales."
"Fine, I'll use your tail. Tell me the moment it starts to hurt. I'm not a sadist, you know."
"I'd call you a dentist, but I don't see any magazines. Fire away."
He brought the torch to bear and started to nicely toast a scale. There was a faint smell of ions, but no feeling of pain. After a second or two it began to feel warm, then hot, then really hot, then owie.
"Stop stop, its hurting." He took the torch away. The pain didn't stop. In fact it got exponentially worse. "Ow ow ow! Shit! Quench it!" I yelled. The sound of boiling water came from behind me and I smelled a mix of steam and burnt hair. I looked back at the damage. The scale wasn't burnt, just sorta melted in the centre where the flame hit it.
"Sorry, I didn't realize your scales would retain so much heat. Guess they really are metal, and not some organic. You'll probably lose that one. Ok, I know my credibility is just about shot, but we have to do the same for cold. Just let me soak a scale in some liquid nitrogen." He held up a bucket.
Well this test I was sure I could pass. I was resistant to cold, at least that's what I read.
Aw, what the heck.
I lifted the bucket away from him and before he could stop me I stuck my finger in. Nothing happened.
In fact it felt kind of nice. I left it there.
A minute passed. A second minute passed.
As far as I was concerned, there was water in the bucket. There weren't even any boiling sounds. As a finale I lifted the bucket to my lips and took a swig.
I mean this is like #3 on the list of stupid things to do.
Drinking liquid nitrogen. Well, I didn't drink it, I just swished it around like mouthwash. This time it did feel cold, and I could tell heat was being transferred by the hissing sound and a buildup of pressure. I guess my soft pink mouth isn't as insulated as my scales. Just like mouthwash, it was getting uncomfortable and starting to burn. It was time to spit and I let loose a big cloud of foggy spray.
The doctor sat there with his mouth a gape.
"That's not possible! Your jaw should have shattered 30 seconds ago. What did that feel like?"
"Like a curiously strong mint. Here, smell my breath." I exhaled on him.
"Nice. It smells fresh and sterile. Now we just need to market your remarkable discovery. Finding repeat customers might be a bit of a challenge though."
"Do you enjoy being so 'funny'?"
"Ok, one last test. I'm going to need to beat you over the head with this surgical 2 by 4 to test your skull strength."
I didn't care anymore. "Fine fine. Just get it over with. This had better not hurt too much." Dr. Smith just looked at me before finally snorting.
"I can't believe you actually believed I was going to hit you over the head with this! You are so gullible. Jeez its not even sterile. The real use for this is -- open wide please -- to prop your mouth open so you won't 'accidentally' bite me in half." With that he stuck the board in my mouth crosswise so that I was unable to bite down all the way. He grabbed a flashlight and some cotton swabs then, showing amazing bravery, he went and stuck his upper body into my mouth.
I guess he was taking throat cultures or something. What a bother this all was. Woah, that tickled. "Aach it."
"Stop moving around, I'm being as careful as I can," he said down my throat. "Hey, you have what looks like some large opening at the back of your throat. Looks like a gland or something. I'll bet if you can breathe something, it comes from that. I even think I can see another one."
"Ool, ut op ickling ee."
"Sorry, but please don't try to talk. Ew! You need to chew better or floss or something." A partially masticated chicken leg was thrown out of my mouth.
I don't know if he was poking or swabbing or what, but it was stimulating something at the back of my throat, like I was going to throw up. That wouldn't be good for anybody.
"Oo, eed oo et out uf air!"
"Stop talking, I'm almost done."
"Et out ow!"
My yell got him out of my mouth just ahead of a rushing cloud of what looked like steam. The stream of steam streaked across the room and engulfed a chair with a loud hissing. POP! CRACK! The chair split apart and shattered.
"Well it looks like we got you breathing fire... or ice as the case may be," the vet tried to exclaim.
I crunched the now frozen 2 by 4 in my mouth and spit out the chunks. "Woo wee! Did you see that? Kaboom! The chair just shattered. I can't believe it. That was just about the coolest thing ever, pun intended Maybe next time you'll to listen to me when I say something's wrong." I looked over and saw the doctor's hand was shaking. "Um, are you feeling ok?"
"I... I... I need to take a break." And with that he left the room. I guess after coming this close to being turned into a hunk of freezer meat, some people just need to walk around. About 10 minutes Kara, one of the physics professors, entered my 'lair' pushing a little cart of stuff. She was the one who used the low temperature lab and did low tempature research. "What happened to Dr. Smith?" I asked.
"He said he needed to calm down and wouldn't be back for the rest of the day. I'm here to collect a sample of whatever's in that ice gland of yours. I'm going to numb the area and insert this collecting tube to draw off a sample."
Again I was given a 2 by 4 to bite down on and I watched her put on gloves, goggles, a face shield, sweatshirt, heavy apron and then a coat. "Ont oo ust ee?"
"I'm just being safe, now say ah."
She sprayed something down my throat and I instantly felt the numbness. I then watched her slide a long metal tube in my mouth and felt it as it probed the back of my throat. There was an odd sensation like something had gone down the wrong pipe and I sucessfully suppressed the urge to hack it up, thanks in part to the topical anesthetic. I then watched as the steel tube was slowly coated in frost and a clear, steaming liquid trickled out into the insulated flask. She kept it in there until the flow tapered off and stopped. She had collected a little over a gallon. My whole neck felt sore, like the opposite of a sinus headache. I really didn't like the idea of being milked.
"Ok, I'll get this back to the lab for analysis. You're going to go down to the athletic field for some more physical testing. Professor Ellis will take you."
Note: What story me doesn't know is the extent the school has mobilized its resources to deal with their new opportunity. With all the transformations that have been sweeping the nation my school found itself in a unique position to be in the forefront of research into this phenomenon. With in 24 hours many departments set aside their current research projects, truckloads of new equipment was brought in, special trailers were set up and new staff was hired. Although only a few people are actually interfacing with dragon me all the samples and data are quickly rushed to an army of PhD's and grad students waiting to run every conceivable test. Being the first one with answers means fame, fortune and maybe better placement on the US New and World Report list of top 10 liberal arts schools. End of note
I was led down the road to the athletic fields by the professor,
the camera guys, a few interns, some public safety guys and various
taggers on. I crunched out onto the snowbound soccer field and
waited for the camera guys to set up their equipment. They then
made me lift, pull, run, jog, hop and roll. I could lift almost
800 pounds and I pulled a van across the snow-covered field. After
completing some sprints on all fours they asked me to see if I
could walk on my two hind legs. I knew I could stand and balance
on them, thus freeing my hands to interact, but I hadn't tried
walking. I reared back to a semi standing position where I was
still mostly hunched over and balancing on my tail. I then gradually
extended my legs.
Woah, I was seriously tall here. This wasn't very stable and I was starting to wobble. My head was now something like 3 stories off the ground and I couldn't come close to getting my legs to straighten out all the way. I took a tentative step, and nearly lost it. Just before I fell flat on my snout, I felt my wings extend and instinctually flap to automatically steady me. That was close. I felt like I was learning to walk on stilts. I bent over a bit more and took another step. After some more practice I could move about fairly well this way, but I wasn't nearly as fast or agile as I was on all fours.
When all the scientists needed to run back and crunch their numbers I was given some "free time" to "cut loose" on the fields and give my body a "workout." I did not see the camera guys making any effort to leave. It looked as if I was going to need to keep smiling. I found cutting loose wasn't very fun without other dragons to play with. After trying to make a snow demon on another field (it sucked), I decided to pass the time by rolling up the biggest snowball I could. You know, the kind you make snowdragons out of by rolling them through a field of sticky wet snow that clings to the ball and adds to its mass. Anyway, I packed a core and started rolling it along. After 15 minutes it was about 20 feet wide. This was going to be here for months! The grounds keepers were going to have a fit when they saw this. My random walk was leading near the parking lot, so I turned to roll the massive ball back into the field.
PIFF PIFF PIFF. PIFF!
I turned towards the lot. 3 people looking like students, but they might have been townies, were lined up throwing snowballs at me. PIFF PIFF. They weren't being very effective. PIFF PIFF. Jeez, you'd think they'd be able to hit a 25-foot long dragon with huge folded, billboard-esque wings.
"Yo, idiots. Why don't you try to throw them AT me?"
SMACK! One of them hit me right between me eyes. If I hadn't taken that as challenge enough one of the guys turned around and shook his rear I my direction. PIFF PIFF PIFFPIFF PIFF PIFFPIFFPIFF. The barrage intensified. I scooped up some snow and packed it into the size of a bowling ball. PIFF PIFF. My side was getting covered with impact marks. I launched my missile and quickly scooped up another one.
SPLAT, Pavement. WHAM, van. SPLAT, pavement. GONG, sign. SPLUSH, dumpster. SPLAT, building. DEE DO DEE DO, car. SPLAT, pavement again. I wasn't going my new species any credit here. I just couldn't get any aim crouched over in my natural pose. I packed another few giant balls, stood up full and spread my wings for stability. I let the snowball loose with a solid overhand cast. WHAM! I hit the handicapped parking sign and bent it about 30 degrees from vertical. The 3 snowballers stopped throwing and looked unsure of what to do. Before they could decide I let another fly. This time my missile found its mark and the man was nearly lifted off his feat as was sent backward into a snow pile. His friends dropped their snowballs and raised their hands, indicating I had won, before attending to their friend. I was about to worry if I had hurt him when I made out a weak thumbs up. That had been really fun. As I was wiping the snow off my body I heard someone approaching.
"Now that you're done playing, Michael, we could head back in to the building. But since your test results won't be in for another hour or two, I was wondering if you wanted to try to fly before dinner. You see there's a little pool going on about if you can fly and exactly how you will go about it."
I went back in the field and spread my wings out so the professors could lay down any final bets (or take measurements, I wasn't sure). My wings unfolded to form a span of 68 feet and the wing root was a little thicker than my arm. However even near the ends they could support a grad student hanging off of them. The flying membrane went back almost to my hips. I think they were giving me even odds. Now of course I guess they all wanted me to be able to fly (regardless of how they bet) so I assumed all of their advice was genuine. I started off practicing how to leap into the air. With a small run I could jump 20 to 30 feet. I then tried to coordinate my jump with a downward stroke of my wings. This was a real challenge. I had never had wings before. I couldn't just command them to move. When you move your body, you can't tell specific parts to more. You sorta have to just 'want' a result to happen and through the magic of your brain, it does. Well, it was quite hard to get my wings to move when I needed them to. Most of my attempts resulted in me falling flat on my muzzle and possibly doing a somersault.
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