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"Whoa, man!" I hollered as the doctor stepped between the officer
and me and I tried to step backwards. I wasn't ready for such
a bold untried move, and I began to loose my balance and fall
to the rear. Looking down at my hooves in agitation, I jerked
my body around trying to catch myself. All I succeeded in doing
was twisting so that I was falling forward instead of backward.
Instinctively I put my hands out in front to catch myself. My
arms became straight and as my fingers neared the floor, they
sharply clamped together with a distinct click. I hit the floor
hands first with a jarring thud that bobbed my head downwards
between my arms, but I didn't fall any further. Betty gasped from
behind me and I instinctively looked at her. Upside-down from
between my legs. All four of them! I whipped my head upward, and
with an easy twist of my long neck, I looked back over my shoulder.
There I saw my broad back running horizontally towards the direction
of my tail, which I will add seemed to be waving a friendly hello
in my direction! Then I understood the seemingly disproportionate
length of my arms. No, not arms alone, but forelegs! I'm a convertible! I can be either two or four legged as I choose! I thought with excitement and whickered happily; excitement that
physically manifested itself in my nodding and bobbing head, my
flashing tail, and with a rush of pleasure as I "dropped" as horsemen
say. My penis put in a second appearance, and I found that it
was much easier to extrude it in this position than it was when
I was upright. It wasn't erect or anything, just ready to be if
I wanted it to be. It dangled and swung beneath my abdomen, its
bright pink saddle mark made more noticeable in contrast to the
velvet blackness of the rest of the shaft and head. I stared at
it in fascination, having an episode of deja vu.
Betty gasped again, and turned her body away in deep embarrassment. I was feeling too wonderful to be embarrassed about anything, especially about my new body parts. But in deference I did try to retract my shaft as I had always heard that stallions could do at will. I didn't know how exactly, but slowly in response to my thought my shaft pulled upwards and condensed backwards inside its soft dark home, leaving only my swaying and beautiful sheath behind to guard the entrance. I watched it retract, still not quite certain how I was doing that, but on reflection, we never know how we walk on two legs either. We just do it.
From that underside view though, I could see that bearing a rider would require some custom saddlery. Where a horse has a long and substantial barrel and the saddle girth strap is sufficiently long to adapt, by contrast my torso was still essentially human shaped from the abs up to my shoulders, albeit somewhat broader and longer. There was very little depth to my 'barrel'. While I was strong enough to support my own structure on 4 legs, I had the impression that I would need to develop much stronger upper body strength to comfortably and safely carry a rider. And I did want to carry my rider so much. Suddenly that rather new idea became an extremely important goal in my life. I backed around to face everyone, and smiled a smile that felt as though it was going to split my muzzle in two! At least I know that my teeth were showing, and my mind said I was grinning like an unreserved fool. I guess that that was more than the officer could handle. Unable to shoot me without shooting the doctor first, he turned and dashed for the lobby door and I was glad that he put that fine a point on it at least.
"Officer Cooke!" Dr. McKinney shouted. "Stop where you are!" In a lower voice he said to the others, "Stop him," and three of the biggest ones quickly disappeared. I took an involuntary step towards the back door to the lobby thinking that I might be able to help, but I nearly tripped myself. I realized that I needed a bit of practice on four legs, which surprised me, as everything felt so natural and proper that I assumed that I came complete with all the proper instincts. I tried to analyze what leg to move and when, but gave up in confusion. So I tried to stare fixedly at the floor and desire to walk forward. That seemed to do it. I felt a sense of natural order and rhythm in my head somewhere, and I just let it do the driving while I acted as the look out against obstacles. In an odd way I felt as if I was riding a horse, not being one, but I wished I had paid more attention to the details of the movements of the horses that lived right over my back fence. I thought the job would have been easier. I wondered for a moment what in the world they would make of me.
The doctor noticed my movement and came to a wrong conclusion. "Mr. Haller," he said firmly, "do not try to leave this area. I will restrain you if you attempt to leave." Visions of hobbles and bridles and bits and reins flashed through my brain. Since I had discovered my attraction to pony play, these things had become the keys to the joy of pony headspace. But I knew that in this context, they would hardly be the exciting toys of a bondage session, but rather the tools of an immobilization drama.
I looked over my back at him, both ears flattened. "I've got 4 legs now instead of 2, I'm feeling very clumsy because I'm so big, I'm not sure how to walk, and I don't know how to open the door. Where do you think I'm going to go like this?" I'm afraid I snapped at him, and my tail switched in anger. I added a hefty snort and a toss of my mane for good measure. My patience was beginning to wear thin, unusual for me in normal circumstances. I have always been the personification of patience. But I had hundreds of questions to discover answers too, and all he could think of was holding me back. In his typical taciturn way, he did not respond to my outburst. One thing was certain though. I felt much more comfortable and stable on 4 legs than I had on 2, and decided that as much of my time as practical would be spent this way. I felt a flash of happy gratitude for the unexpected value of my new hand-y forehooves.
I decided to stand upright again, so that I could regain the full advantages of my forehands if needed. I didn't have enough strength in my back to lever myself up from a four legged stance, so I sat my rump on the floor, back-walked my forelegs until my torso was nearly upright, lifted them off the ground easily and pushed my self up to a standing position. As I bent my elbow fully, I felt a snapping sensation in the length of my arm, like that of a rubber band, and my fingers were released from their clamped together arrangement. I smiled at the genius of this effect, realizing that the conversion of hands to forehooves was intended to be automatic based on the shape and position of my arms... er... legs. Perhaps my shoulders were involved as well since I felt the change from there down to my hands. Curiosity made me raise my arms to shoulder level and stick them out straight in front of me. With a satisfying click, my fore hooves reappeared, snapping my fingers tightly together and removing the strain of supporting my weight on 6 individual digits. With a little arm waving I discovered that my hooves were autonomic within a range of about a 75-degree departure from the right angle of my shoulder joint. This was going to make me have to prance with my front feet so as not to un-hoof myself in 4x4 mode, but since I loved watching a proud and prancing pony in a parade, I would have no trouble emulating that look.
I took a short step into my cubicle and reached for the telephone. I picked up the handset quite easily in my 3-fingered grip. However, looking at the touch pad, I realized that my individual fingertips were now much too wide to easily press one button at a time. Opening my desk drawer, I tried to remove a pencil from the tray inside, and had some difficulty getting just one at a time. My fingers were not only larger, but with wide hoof like nails on each one, it made selecting small slippery objects problematic. Using both thumbs, and the obligatory tongue stuck out in concentrated effort, I was able to trap and remove a pencil by pressing its ends. There are some compromises to be made, I thought to myself with a glance at the worm pile of rubber bands, the porcupine of tacks, and the log jam of writing instruments lying in the rest of the tray, all smugly anticipating defeating me. The most forward pencil tray was only an inch wide, and I would not even be able to get one finger into that area. Pleased with myself still, I gripped the struggling pencil with the eraser pointing down and lifted the receiver again with the intention of calling Master. I had to find out if He was OK.
"Mr. Haller, put the telephone down," I heard the doctor command sternly. I turned my head and found that I could look over the tops of the cubicles between us and down into the small reception area where he had first entered.
With a frown I asked him "Why?"
"We don't have any more time, Mr. Haller," he answered with a glance at his watch. "My orders are to remove you to safety ASAP, and we have now wasted far too much time in the process," he continued firmly.
"Look, I'm not causing you any trouble here. You guys are the ones who are the problem. The longer this goes on the more I am convinced that neither you nor anyone else has anything to fear from my change or me. I'm not contagious or evil or possessed and anything. What you are looking at is simply the granting of a wish; or the answering of a prayer if you prefer. Whatever the means that was used, it was obviously totally focused on me," I said, trying to sound as firm and as certain as I could, despite my lack of complete confidence in what I was saying. "The way I look right now is exactly the way I have wanted to look since I don't know how long ago. Someone has blessed me and my life with this change, and it has nothing to do with you or anyone else..."
"Regardless of your unproven beliefs," he interrupted loudly, "you must come with me until we can determine with certainty what has happened and how."
"I'm not going anywhere until I contact my family and let them know what has happened and that I'm OK," and I punched the speed dial for Master's cell phone.
"Mr. Haller! I will only say this once more. Put down the phone and come to me," he almost shouted.
I began to slowly straighten my hind legs, increasing my height gradually until I was leaning easily above and over the wall, brushing the ceiling with my flattened ears, and frowning angrily down my muzzle, with its broadly flared nostrils, into his upturned face. "Or what? Are you going to shoot me or something too?" I shouted, and whinnied a long, very loud and angry punctuation mark.
With a kick of my right hind hoof, I slammed the movable cubicle wall outward into the hall. It jammed satisfyingly with the wall across the way, and effectively blocked anyone from approaching me directly. I'm afraid all the noise and motion terrified Betty, for she jumped up with a shout and ran behind the group. Despite my usual passive nature, I was beginning to feel paranoia creeping up on me. What were these people capable of? What did they really have in mind for me once they got me sequestered somewhere, as they indicated were their 'orders'? Whose orders were they anyway? More urgently now I felt the need to contact someone sympathetic to my position, and Master has always been the first in mind.
The doctor paused for a moment. Master's voice answered the phone, but it was only His recording. My attention was drawn to my Master's voice. I waited as patiently as I could for the tone, and then I rushingly told Him what had happened since my last message. "Master, this is Your pet again. Pony has completed his transformation, and You are sure to love the results! Got all the best in optional equipment and a choice of two or four on the floor. There are men here trying to take Your pet away into isolation somewhere, and they say they are from the CDC and Parkland Hospital, but I don't know exactly what their intentions are, and I think there are too many of them to fight off alone," I said quietly and urgently, hoping that I was not being overheard. My lapse into the first person pronouns while talking to Master indicated just how distressed I was. Then I remembered that it might be impossible to even speak to Master at all if He had changed too. "Oh God, pony hopes that You got Your wish too, but if You did Your pet is doomed to go with these people. Wish Your pet luck. Pony loves You and will see You as soon as he can," I finished, and slowly hung up the phone while I chewed on my lower lip. Then I punched the code for home.
The first law of telecommunications reads that the probability of reaching the party you are calling is inversely proportional to the importance that you speak to them in real-time. My own voice, rather my original voice with its natural tenor range, answered the phone. With a sigh, I left my wife and son a message. "Hi, its me. Um... something has happened here at the office. I'm ok, so don't worry or anything, but I am going to Parkland Hospital with a group of doctors for observation. If you haven't heard on the news about the people around the country who have been changed physically, you will very soon. I am one of those people. My change will not surprise either of you as you know me well enough to appreciate it. Try not to worry. Easy for me to say, but try not to anyway. I will call you as soon as I can. Come to the hospital. I love you. See you soon," I said with a lump in my throat.
Well, three of the four most important people in my life had at least been warned. My daughter would probably hear about it from her mother since I can never remember her number at college. Of the three of them, I guessed that my free spirited slightly bohemian daughter would be the most likely to understand and accept what had happened. My wife would not be surprised by what I looked like now since I have read her my transformation fiction, and she knows that the story Cody and her husband Cody are the same horse. My son, however. I am afraid that I stand on a very tall pedestal in his eyes, and even at age 21, he is quite naive in the ways of the world. This is my doing in fact, as I have been determined from his birth to raise a compassionate, empathic, and optimistic man for the new millennium. That has meant shielding him from some of the worst aspects of being a human male, and so he tends to be perhaps too idealistic, if that is possible.
While I had been occupied, the doctor's team had approached the jammed wall and with their combined strength they were easily able to push it out of their way. I turned to face them weighing my options. I was now much, much larger then they, and I was sure that I was much stronger than any one of them, but would be hard pressed to fight off all three of them plus the doctor for long. I felt too unsteady on my new legs to be able to run down six flights of stairs, and I would never make it to the elevator alone. My hooves were heavy and would make formidable blunt weapons, and I could bite them fiercely too, but did I really want to hurt them? All my life I had been a pacifist. I had never struck out at another human being before, not even to spank my children, who blessedly never gave anyone a reason too spank them anyway. I believed in diplomacy and interactive problem solving. Had I altered that much inwardly that I could consider a fundamental change in my behavior patterns, I wondered? No. I had not. Indeed, the thought of attacking these small humans felt very wrong somehow. Despicable even. I don't know how to explain it, but I will describe what I felt as devotional pity. I mean I felt sorry for them, and at the same time I felt compelled to try to help them if I could. I remember that this feeling surprised me at the time, because it was a totally new one in my experience and I decided that it must have had its basis in the nature of my body changes and mental adjustments. I looked down my nose at them, lifted my ears forward, cocked my head sideways a bit trying to look disarmingly cute, like Darwin (Master's wonderful German Shepard) does, and smiled at them. This time no teeth to raise doubts in their minds. I could feel the corners of my mouth turn up, so I was sure it would look like a smile. They seemed taken aback and just stood and looked at me warily. But the doctor smiled back, cautiously, behind his clear faceplate.
"I know what you are thinking Mr. Haller. But you are wrong. We are not from any so-called Area 51 team, and we're not part of any skunk works. We are simply cautious medical professionals, although I am attached indirectly to the military. I'm in the Air Force reserve," he added with a smile. I smiled back thinking fondly of Master and how wonderful He looked in His Naval officer's uniform. "To be frank, you scare me to death, Mr. Haller," he continued. "Rather, your implications scare me. You seem to put into question some fundamental scientific principles, not to mention the inherent differences of mankind and animals. But you also excite me to think of the possibilities. Suddenly, matter-to-matter conversion has occurred, and while we were watching! This is no magician's trick, but nothing less that the total real-time spatial reorganization of a living organism from one species to what appears to be a new one on the cellular level. Think of what that could mean if the technology were applied to the human body itself. We could be talking about the cure for all genetic disorders, and the repair of every malformation. Perhaps even the perfection and then enhancement of the human form," he said with the faint sound of wonder in his tone. I grinned wider, as he nearly quoted the thoughts of a literary creation of mine. "But, the most pressing immediate concern remains; to determine the nature of your impact on the human race. In short, are you benign, or malignant.
"On consideration, I do not believe that there is a need for secrecy. The news of these changes has already made headlines. And the more I see you and observe those you have been in contact with, the more my instinct is that you pose no threat to anyone. But I would like proof of that, and if you will willingly come with me for testing, I will personally pledge to keep you safe and see to it that you are escorted home should my suspicions prove true. In the mean time, that shadow of doubt will keep what biohazard protocols we have in place." He sounded reasonable and logical to me. Also, I am indoctrinated to believe that promises made will be kept. The credo that I try to live my life by has grown to become as much a part of me as, as, as my tail. Master has taught me these words of John Walter Wayland: "The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; Who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; Who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; Who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; Who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; Whose deed follows his word; Who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own, and who appears well in any company; A man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe."
We do our utmost to live up to them at all times. For the most part, I succeed. But the pursuit of perfection is eternal after all, and I am still in quest. I looked for a few moments into the Doctor's face. He was so swathed in plastic that I couldn't clearly see him and so had no signals that might help me. I have always been counted in the camp of those who believe in the essential goodness of man and that individuals will on their own do 'the right thing'. In the absence of obvious deceit, one must proceed on instinct alone. Mine told me to trust my training and this man. With a side nod and blink, I told him, "Ok. What's next?"
"I want to medevac you away in the helicopter. Is there a roof access in this building?" he asked right off.
I shrugged and shook my head. "I have no idea at all. But the parking deck behind the building is never used on the top level, and there is stair access to it from the third floor." While I was saying this, the missing team members returned to the room, escorting officer Cooke. He looked madder than a spurned mare and glared, not at me, but at Doctor McKinney, with undisguised hatred. The doctor turned to him and Betty. "I want you both to put on suits like mine. They are designed to isolate the wearer from all outside contact. In your cases, we will have to move you in a car since there won't be room in the helicopter for more than a few of us. Mr. Haller looks as though he will account for about half of its lift capacity all by himself." He looked at the communications team member. "Get the chopper down on the parking deck, and get the pilot out of range. You stay with me, and the rest of you get to the cars and pack it up. You don't have time for interviews, but tell whomever that I will issue a statement as soon as I can. I want to see you all in the ISO wing in 45 minutes." They finished buttoning up Betty and Cooke, and everyone left the 3 of us alone.
I could see (and feel) the helicopter float between the buildings and proceed around the back. "You can watch from classroom D," I told them. He nodded, so I began to move carefully past them and towards the hall door. They had to give way, since the hall was not wide enough for the new me and anyone else. The doorknob was a piece of apple pie to open, but as I stooped to go thru it I lost my equilibrium and fell forward. My fore hooves snapped into existence with a sharp clack, and I found myself comfortably on all fours again. It felt so good and natural that I just stayed that way, since there was another door to get into D anyway. I walked down the hall, my head bobbing with the motion of my legs, my face plastered with an insane grin, flat teeth and all.
When I got to the door, I realized I had a small problem, but I had to figure it out sooner or later, and sooner is my favorite time. I looked at the knob. How about using your mouth, I thought. Yuck! Look at all the hands that have been on that thing, and you never know where else they've been wandering. The Doctor tried to get to the door, but the hall was blocked by some big horse's ass. So I shifted my weight to 3 legs and pulled my right fore hoof off the floor and towards my chest. As it bent in two, I could feel the tightness in my hand lessening, and with a twitch, my fingers separated and I was able to open the door myself. I grinned wider than ever, if that was possible, and clicking back into flat fours, I strolled thru the door swishing my tail happily. The tinted glass on the outside wall showed an excellent view of the slowing rotors on the deck below. The pilot was walking away with one of the other police officers, pulling a pair of black gloves from each hand, one finger at a time.
The doctor and his man were standing very close at either side of my head, watching the blades losing their inertia to drag. I could feel the heat radiating from their suits against my nose. I felt very calm having them that close for some reason, and so help me, I couldn't stop myself reaching my neck to the left to nuzzle the doctor. He turned and looked at me in mild surprise, and I blushed. At least my nose and ears got hot, and I had to whicker and nod my head to get over it. He grinned a little grin, and reached behind my ear and scratched my head. Oh, God, did that feel good. I felt my penis dropping out of my sheath, and blushed even more. I closed my eyes and shook my head slowly, thinking that I was stupid to be embarrassed considering what I was built like. I decided that the details of instinctual behavior and modesty for me would have to be worked out as I came to grips with myself and the rest of society.
I ducked my head and turned about past the doctor and walked to the door, expecting that they would follow. They did. I walked down the inner hall to the back door into the elevator lobby where the stairs were also located. The doctor bustled ahead of me and stopped to face me. I pulled up short, and lifting an eyebrow, looked inquisitive. "I am going to call the elevator and make certain that the car is clear. Wait here for a minute," he said, gesturing with both hands that I was to stop where I was. I nodded an OK, and he pushed the door open. His man moved to the front of me, and stood in the doorway. He wasn't one of the bigger ones, and I could have easily pushed him out of my way, but I was OK with it all so far. Perhaps the knowledge that I had the power to do as I choose made letting them think they were in control so easy. I wondered if born horses have something of that same sense of cooperative appreciation for these frail creatures and allow themselves to be harnessed to mankind's purposes out of generosity. Man, what did I just say? I thought silently in amazement, shaking my head again.
Standing still like that, I began to notice the difference in my weight. I still had a fairly human torso, nowhere near as heavy as a real horse, but regardless, my taller longer stature and musculature made me much heavier than I used to be, if only by dint of bulk. I was only 155 with my mane soaking wet before the change. Now I felt I must be somewhere in the high two hundreds. Looking at my huge thighs alone I thought that I might even have doubled my weight. Thinking of weight, I began to feel the sensation of pressure on my coffin bones, embedded inside their cushion of stretchy fibers within my hooves. And I instinctively lifted one hoof off the ground and stood on 3 to give it a rest. I had often seen working horses do this, and for some reason I had never guessed why. Dumb. I was surprised that I was feeling very tired in my new body though. But that was dumb too. After what had just happened to me and so quickly, I should have been surprised to even be awake.
I yawned a huge curly tongued horse yawn, and the doctor's man smiled at me. "I bet you're really beat, hey boy?" he said in a friendly way. I snickered a whicker at that, and wanted to say, Who you callin' boy, mister? but in a very good humor, I just nodded deeply and yawned again.
"Man, don't I know it," I said through another yawn. "I could sleep for a week."
"Well, when we get you outta here, I'll see what can be done about that. Looks like we're ready," he said as the doctor beckoned from the elevator door.
I walked into the hall, and stepped into the car, which did a quick weight adjustment when the sill got out of alignment. The elevator cars in the ICL building had always been luxuriously oversized. But with me in there, all that extra room seemed to disappear. I squatted my rump and pulled my fore legs in towards my crotch to take up less room. I didn't stand up since I would have to drop to get out the door again anyway. We arrived at the third floor, and exited towards the parking lot egress. As we got nearer to the helicopter, I began to have my doubts about whether I would even fit inside, let alone all four of the pilot and us. I rumped up to a 2-legged stance. "I don't like the look of this. It's pretty small, doc," I said with my hands on my hips.
"It's rated at one thousand pounds of payload, so it won't be a lift problem. But you do seem a bit bulkier than I estimated," he said, sizing me up against the cabin.
Inside, there were 2 pilots' seats, and a 2-passenger cabin with a small flat area behind it for cargo. His assistant went right to the door and reaching under the nearest seat he released it and lifted it out of the cabin. There still wasn't enough room for me, so the other one had to go too. Back on all fours, I found out that climbing into the cabin was amazingly easy. Just one leg at a time, and then I just thought to myself, Now, lay down right here. My legs folded up and sideways and I found myself comfortably lying on the floor, tail draped artistically across my rump and hind legs. "Where're you guys gonna ride?" I asked sweetly.
"Up front," the doctor said, and slide the side door shut. He took the pilot's seat, and with my mouth hanging open, he revved up the rotors. He grinned over his shoulder at my dumbstruck face and said, "Air Force. Remember?" He was obviously having a great time as my stomach flattened from the assent. We were off. Somewhere. Parkland, I assumed. I assumed wrong.
I was surprised at how loud the rotor noise was. With all the advancements in noise abatement technology, you would think that it wouldn't be so terribly thunderous. My ears folded back to try to block some of it, but you could still feel it thumping on your body, like a giant doctor palpating your chest. I couldn't cover my ears with my hands, since lying down on the floor put me in horse mode and I couldn't reach my ears effectively, so I just tried to ignore it and watch our progress.
We rose into the air like The Great Glass Wonka-vator and began to tilt and accelerate south. I have flown in jetliners hundreds of times, and have a million and half Frequent Flyer miles from Northwest to prove it. But this was my first helicopter ride, and it felt totally unfamiliar. During the ascent, all I could think of was going up the hill on the Texas Titan at Six Flags, and I clenched my teeth waiting for the big drop on the other side of the hill. Fortunately for my new body, the drop never came. And I recalled someone's revelation that it's not the drop that kills you anyway. It's the sudden stop at the bottom.
We arrowed down the North Dallas Toll way clearly observing IFR, which (I learned during my own pilot's training) stood for 'I Follow Roads'. I tried to look out the window, but only succeeded in leaving a large damp spot on the glass where I hit it with my nose. I turned my head sideways and found that I could concentrate with one eye on the view below. It was without depth, but I found I could disregard the input from my other eye and could see the ground very clearly, with an enormous field of view. However, it was like looking down on a topographical map from atop a ladder. I could not tell how high we were, and could only guess from the distorted elongations of the buildings below.
The heavy northbound migration of downtown commuters had already begun, and it was only 3:15 according to the instrument clock. In a matter of minutes, we were vectoring in on the large Day-Glo 'H' of Parkland Hospital's helipad. The doctor pulled up in a hover about 50 feet above the pad, and held us there, while he had a conversation with the radio. It was short, but animated. I couldn't understand what he said, but the tone of his voice made it clear that he was furious. "We have been denied permission to land," he said to the air for our benefit. "There is some kind of disturbance on the ground level, which it appears that you are at the center of Mr. Haller. The hospital administrator says that there is a lobby full of people clamoring for your attention," he repeated from his headphone. "He says there are 2 television crews, a couple dozen activists from various pro and anti government factions, human and animal rights groups, several preachers and ministers and other assorted church people, the Dallas police department, and at least 3 women claiming to be your wife," he continued to shout above the din.
"Claiming to be or is my wife," I bellowed.
"How should I know!" he shouted back. I smiled a bit at his obvious irritation. This had to be the result of my telephone calls, and I suspected that it was Master's hand at work. My wife probably would not have thought about the implications beyond her own worry for my safety, especially since I hadn't filled her in on the illustrative details. But Master would know immediately how to raise the alarm. And if He didn't, then His steel trap of a mind would figure out the best course very quickly.
"What now?" I asked innocently. The copter was already lifting and thumping away south over the anachronistic French provincial modernism that is the Dallas Infomart, and over I35-E. I felt somewhat better knowing that I was not unknown beyond the sliding doors of the passenger cabin. "We are going to land in a remote location and I will decide what to do next," Dr. McKinney shouted out of the corner of his mouth.
The volume of his own voice must have hurt his ears inside the headpiece of his suit since he had to virtually scream to be heard through it and above the rotor pandemonium. A frown crossed my face. I did not like this turn of events at all. Suddenly, it became possible that I could disappear into the third dimension, while everyone below was busy watching the first and second.
He continued on a south-southwest course, and soon Cedar Hill, lake Joe Pool, and Mountain Creek Lake rolled up over the horizon. Moments later we began to slow and descend towards what was unmistakably an airport. It looked deserted. Not only deserted, but abandoned. Its long runway jutting squarely out into the lake identified it clearly for me though. I had seen it many times from many window seats as I flew a few thousand feet overhead after departing DFW International. It was the old, decommissioned Dallas Naval Air Station, Hensley Airfield. Abandoned by the Military in the early 90's, it was slated for environmental cleanup and re-development, but it always seemed that someone was dragging their heels for one reason or another, and so far nothing had been started with the project.
We throbbed lower and began to settle onto the end of a very short runway of about 100 feet in length, with a large faded red 17 stenciled under our skids.
The engine whine fell off rapidly to a shushing sound as the rotors succumbed to air resistance. Both men exited the copter and stood out in front talking where I couldn't hear them. It was not warm outside by any means, but the cabin very abruptly became stuffy, close, oppressive, and generally undesirable. I tried to un-hoof my hand and open the door, only to discover that the inner handles had been removed.
With a frown and disgusted snort, I shouted "Hey!" to get their attention. They probably couldn't hear me, considering the layers of Perspex and enviro-suit between us. That only made me more determined, and I shouted louder, with no better success. So I took a great breath, stretched out my neck, opened my mouth as wide as I could, and whinnied with all my strength and air supply. My head twisted back and forth with the effort, and I bellowed as long as I could. With a double take that told me that I had been forgotten, they paused and looked at me, and then went back to their conversation. My mouth dropped open in surprise, and I lay there looking stupid.
I never would have take action when I was human, deferring to the authority that they represented. But something had changed in my mental makeup, and I decided that I was getting out of the cabin with or without their help. The most immediate exit point seemed to be through the window in the door. Pushing myself partially up, I un-hoofed my left foreleg, and clenching my fingers tightly I drew back my arm and struck straight at the window with the sharp edge of my finger hooves. They skittered along the glass leaving jagged scratches behind them, but the window remained intact. I struck at it again with more force this time, making the window clunk and wiggle. Apparently, the noise or the motion caught their attention, and they ran to the door. The doctor waggled his finger at me in a maddeningly patronizing way, and with a snort of disgust I drew my arm back for another strike. He opened the door instead, and we started speaking simultaneously. "Don't do --"
"It's about damn time --"
"-- that! That's government --"
"-- you opened the stupid --"
"-- property!" he shouted.
"-- damn door!" I shouted.
I started to shuffle my rump crabwise towards the door, but he put his hand on my butt to stop me. "No, no, please stay inside for now. We may not be here long," he ordered.
After a brief pause for appearance, I snorted assent. "Leave the door open," I ordered in return. He nodded, and they moved away to be out of my hearing and continued their conversation. They didn't move away far enough. My new ears, larger, directional, and more sensitive, had no difficulty focusing in on the vocal vibrations escaping through the plastic of their suits.
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