|Second Tribal Council
by Michael Bard
© Michael Bard -- all rights reserved
"Welcome to this, the second episode of Survifur. Before we begin: Remember that it's up to you -- the viewer -- to vote for which tribe most deserves to win. You must think about their cleverness, and how much they have entertained you. You can vote either by e-mail at austinslysquirrel [at] yahoo [dot] com or at our web site. Vote at any time while you watch what happened in the Biosphere's very own Manhattan!"
The camera fades and shows the activities and fall of the various tribes.
"Okay, here we are again. Welcome to all remaining Survifur tribes! The game has barely started, but as you have just seen, already eight, count 'em eight, Survifurs... are GONE! Four are now raccoons --" Sly pauses for a moment and hums the first few notes of the Raccoon Song,"-- and the other four have found gainful employment in Manhattan, dutifully helping the inhabitants their sinful pleasures as vixens. That's right; all four of them have been vixenated. They tried putting their lives, indeed, their very humanity on the line for the sake of five million dollars.
"And they lost."
"Yes, welcome once again to the second Tribal Council. I am Sly Squirrel, Tribal Master, and you are the twenty Survifurs, ANY of whom can still win the five million dollars - or lose their very humanity. We are brought to you tonight by the Church of Apple Computer. Apple cheerfully accepts all donations, which are tax-deductible. Tonight's words of wisdom from Apple's High Epopt, the Ascended One, Steve Jobs: 'Rejoice, brethern, for Bill Gates is burning in Hell!' And for the benefit of those tuning in for the first time tonight, I'll just repeat the rules that these 20 Survifurs have agreed to in their quest for a transformation of their choice and the substantial cash prize. The object of this game is to be the only anthropomorphic Survifur able to come to tribal council. Last one able to arrive at the council with a fraction of their humanity left wins the game and the lucrative cash pot of Five Million Dollars! All cash prizes paid out in interest-free monthly instalments over a 10-year period. Financing by Rothschild of Luxembourg Ltd, with legal assistance from the still fully human lawyers of Philips, Moore, Lempio and Finley."
Sly, still smiling his ten-million dollar smile, leaned over the unfeasibly large bonfire (which still had no place burning in a deciduous forest), waiting for the cameras to finish their slow pan across the bleachers, getting fine, clear images of the remaining 20 people who would be competing this season. Whereas they had been mostly human last night, now they were a mixture, ranging from a lion-taur to a cheetah to a tiger to a fox to a squirrel and even a rabbit.
"Yes, you have all indeed learned that the traps are as real and as deadly as I told you. And some of you have even learned how to make use of them! Now, I know that you're all waiting for the results of the votes cast in the last hour, waiting to see who is the choice of our viewers for the best Survifur tribe! But first... I'd like to ask some questions, to help our audience get more familiar with you."
Amidst groans from some of the participants, Sly just grinned, fluffled his tail, and walked over to where Harlem was seated. Although all were more or less anthropomorphic, one was a lion-taur or centauroid lion, one was a tiger with a rat's tail, one was somewhat a black panther, and the last one was every inch a vixen (in more than one sense of the word). "So members of Harlem, I see that you had fun last night."
Norman, the panther, just growled.
"But it was successful. Michael, did you know that the tribe you saw vixenated was actually Bushwick tribe?"
"Dear me, no. They told us that they were Brooklyn. Do you mean that they weren't?" The fox vixen leaned against him and started petting his back and the liontaur visibly shuddered, reflexively emitting a rumbling sound.
"They must have lied -- and I can't tell you how shocked I am to learn that members of one SurviFur tribe might sink so low as to deceive another. Tch, tch, tch. By the way, did you have fun vixenating them?"
Michael just blinked his eyes as the vixen clasped his hand to comfort him. "Mmmm... Us? Oh, no. Poor chaps, if what you say is true. There was a bar fight, and we managed to leave before it got too ugly. I really don't know what happened to them, in fact none of us do."
Sly just nodded his head and moved over to his next victim, Utopia. Utopia showed evidence of mixed success as one was part squirrel, one was part jack rabbit, but the other two were still fully human. "So Richard, did you have fun last night. I think you met Harlem, didn't you?"
"We did. They seemed like nice people too, although none of them looked like they do now. They must have gotten it bad."
"And I see that you had a quiet night. It was just you and Colby together while Tina and Sue went off on their own. But didn't you talk to Sue later?"
Oblivious to Sue's glare, Richard just continued, "Of course, I just said good night."
Sly chuckled. "Yes, I see that we have a really friendly group here." And then he moved over to the Melrose tribe, one of whom displayed a few hints of cheetah qualities, while the other three were still entirely human. "So Orr, did you have any problems last night -- any bug problems per se. The Biosphere is fully populated with insect pollinators as required, and all supplied by Bugs R' Us, Suppliers of pollinators to the farmers of America for over ten years."
It was Linda who answered him, "No, no problems at all. We were just annoyed by their high pitched buzzing, but that quickly went away."
"And you aren't trying to share them with the other tribes in the least?"
Maxx glared but Orr replied in a calm voice, "No, not at all."
"Yes, we've definitely got a friendly, friendly bunch this season!" And then with a hop and a flourish he was in front of another group, this time all human except for a woman whose face looked like it had been stolen from a raccoon. Sly addressed her first: "So Angel, did you like the path you took? It was very handy for your whole tribe wasn't it?"
"Fuck, I made one little mistake, but it's been dealt with."
"And the rest of you made good use of the darts, I hear. Called Brooklyn for help and gave it all to them." Sly shook his head. "Well, all's fair in love and war!"
Sly turned and made his way over to the last group, who were still 100% human. "And finally we have the Bronx tribe. You had a nice quiet night too, I hear."
"Of course." It was Greg who answered.
"You didn't have any trouble dealing with your bug problem then? And did you find out anything useful with your equipment about it?"
Amaya leapt in, "Yes, we know all about the bug, and who sent it Orr!" She turned and looked pointedly towards the Melrose tribe.
"Yes, a happy little group we have here, but then that's what we want to watch." Sly turned back to face the camera and smiled his ten-million dollar smile. "Conflict and war - already two tribes have been eliminated, and the hatred is flying high!" Sly spun around with his tail high and faced the 20 remaining Survifurs. "But now, the moment you've all been waiting for, the tallying of the votes submitted by the viewers, to determine which is tonight's winner, and who... is not. The winning tribe will receive a certificate good for eliminating a total of 40% transformation, divided up among its members however they choose; the remaining tribes must each allow one of their members to lose 25% of their humanity.
"Unfortunately, out of 80,900,000 viewers, only 1,300,000 actually cast votes. It's kind of strange, but for some reason, the nearly 80 million viewers who didn't vote seem to be experiencing a major outbreak of transformations; so far the changes appear to be cosmetic, patches of fur and feathers and so on. I'm told the FBI is investigating, and we'll keep you posted as to further developments.
"At any rate, tonight's votes have already been counted, but if you tune in two days from now, you'll get another chance to vote! Remember that your vote DOES count!
"But for now, let's go on to specifics. We're not going to hand-count all 1,300,000 votes, and in fact only three computers -- iMacs provided by Apple and running OS XV -- know how many votes have been cast, and for which tribe. Not even I know the results! For simplicity, we're going to count every 100,000 votes as one, since an exact multiple of 100,000 viewers voted. And yes, this does mean that EVERY SINGLE VOTE did indeed count. All of the votes has been placed in the jar you see..." the camera switched to show a brushed aluminum jar twinkling in the light of the bonfire opposite the tribes "...and now I will count them."
Upon saying this Sly scurried over to the jar and picked it up. "This jar was created by the wizardly artisans of Alcoa -- we control ALL aluminum everywhere so pay our price! -- and is worth nearly one million dollars at today's value. And now, without any further ado... the votes!" Sly carefully unscrewed the lid and let it fall to the ground with a low thud, then turned to face the gathered tribes. He stuck his hand in and pulled out a computer-printed slip of paper and read from it: "The first vote is for Queens! That's 1 for Queens, and zero for everybody else."
And then Sly continued reading the votes and calling out the score: "The second vote is for the Bronx. 1 for the Bronx, 1 for Queens. Third vote is for the Bronx again. 2 for the Bronx, 1 for Queens. Fourth vote is for, again, the Bronx! Bronx is in the lead, by a 3-to-1 margin over Queens."
He paused for a second and ruffled around before drawing another vote, "Fifth vote is for Harlem. 3 for the Bronx, 1 each for Queens and Harlem. Sixth vote is also for Harlem; the Bronx is still winning. Seventh vote is for Queens. Queens and Harlem now have 2 apiece, but the Bronx is still winning with 3. Eighth vote is for Queens. Queens and the Bronx are now tied at 3, Harlem behind at 2. Ninth vote is for Harlem. Harlem, Queens and the Bronx are now all tied. Tenth vote is for Queens, so Queens is now in the lead with 4. Eleventh vote is for Harlem. Harlem and Queens are now tied with 4, and the Bronx is now trailing with 3."
"Remember, if there is a tie, then both tribes avoid their risk of punishment. Maybe we'll see it tonight. We'll know shortly!" Again Sly ruffled around and slowly drew another vote. "Twelfth vote is for Harlem. Yes, Harlem is now in the lead by one vote, with one vote left to count. Queens can still tie. Now the thirteenth vote, the last vote. Let's see, I can read it... it's for... Harlem!"
Canned cheers and claps, and a few boos and hisses, pour through the clearing.
"That's right, it's Harlem. Harlem wins with 6 votes to Queens' 4, the Bronx's 3, and none for the others."
Slowly Sly leaned over and re-sealed the jar. Next, he took off his hat, and removed a piece of parchment from inside it. "Well done, Harlem! And here's your reward: A certificate for 40% restoration of humanity. It's good until the next tribal council, so you'd better use it fast! Again, well done, and it'll be interesting to see whether you can manage to stay on top in the future!"
That task done, the squirrel slowly turned around and revealed himself to be holding a dart gun. "And now... it's time for those who failed to catch the imagination of the viewers to take their medicine. As in previous seasons, the way this works is that each tribe that fell behind in the votes has a choice: Either they can volunteer to have the whole tribe attempt a punishment task, one that's chock-full of Mutopia traps, or they agree to let one of their members lose 25% of their humanity. I've already been told by all tribes that they will choose the 25% loss so let's proceed. The not-so-lucky tribe member is chosen at random; their transformation is likewise purely a matter of chance. The random number generator in my dart gun will select the results of the 25% transformation." He faced the camera: " In addition, the dart is propelled by complex electro-magnetic fields and will select a Survifur at random. So, let's get to our first victim!"
Canned cheers played, making a lot of the competitors look uncomfortable.
"And don't forget that the chip is manufactured by AMD - 'we already ate Intel's lunch, why not Motorola and IBM now?' So let's get started, and let's do it alphabetically. First... the Bronx. " Slowly and carefully, with a taped indraw of breath, Sly aimed and fired. It took a moment before the effects of the dart became apparent and the camera focused in on Jia as his skin started to ripple. It started on his chest and then switched to his right arm which the camera slowly focused on. Slowly the arm stretched while the fingers shrunk. Then the sleeve of the shirt slowly dissolved, and the skin begin to form pinpricks that grew into goose bumps, and then burst open to reveal feathers that grew longer and longer. Slowly the camera panned back to show that Jia's right arm was now a single massive wing, five feet long, and covered in brown and beige patterned feathers. It could now be seen that his chest was also distorted; his breastbone had greatly expanded, thickening like the keel of a ship and extending down towards his navel, with newly-formed muscles anchoring the wing to it.
The camera switched to show Sly. "And next we turn to... Melrose! The chip thinks and..." The camera changed to show the Melrose tribe and like before for a moment there was nothing and then Maxx suddenly turned and stared at his left leg and the camera turned to follow his view. Again the material of his pants slowly disappeared as the nanites consumed the material, and again the leg prickled and then burst, but this time it wasn't feathers but fur. Thin golden fur appeared and, as the camera tilted down, Maxx's shoe vanished and his ankle bent and his leg deformed into a mountain lion's paw, complete with fur and claws. The length appeared to be the same as his normal leg so he could still walk easily, although his gait would be unusual.
Back to Sly. "Only two more. And now it's time for... Queens!" The camera switched its view and for a moment nothing and then it focused on Bob. He stood partially up, and then slammed down onto the bench and stared at his legs as the camera followed. Again his pants changed, transforming into shorts, so that the camera could focus on his legs as they thickened and shortened massively, gradually turning into the short stubby legs of a black bear, although they still ended with human feet.
Once again Sly. "And finally we have Utopia!" Again the view switched and this time it was Tina who suddenly noticed the changes. She opened her mouth to scream but all that came out was a neigh as her head stretched into the snout of a wild mustang and grew a covering of tan fur. Her ears moved up onto the top of her head and grew pointed as her hair became a thick black mane that cascaded down her back. All she could whisper was "No..." which ended with a soft nicker.
And then the camera focussed back onto Sly. "Well, it's getting late and we're almost finished! Now I have to tell you of the next Survifur challenge. This time it's a little different; this time it's a Scavenger Hunt. Tomorrow night we'll be burying a whole bunch of prizes and traps in a pine forest somewhere in the Biosphere. Any tribe who tries to interfere will get darted, and trust me when I say their changes won't stop at 25%! The morning after, you can all go searching for the goodies we've buried. You must find the good stuff, avoid the bad, and beware your fellow tribes. Don't forget that two tribes have already been eliminated!
"And what the heck, since I'm a nice squirrel, each surviving tribe will be given its $200 allowance, and a metal detector to help them find the goods! As usual, a single squirrel will gather you up at dawn so that the hunt can begin. Good luck Survifurs, and tune-in two nights from now to see the results of the Survifur Scavenger Hunt. And don't forget to transmit your votes!
"This is Sly Squirrel, signing off."
Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments or questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org