Posted by: lordkyler | November 20, 2010

Animoids – The Book – Part Two

As you may or may not know, Animoids was being developed as both a comic and a book. This is an excerpt from the most complete draft, although it was written quite a while ago. The previous section is here.


Chapter Three

Henry was recovered within a few days. Jim was right. Henry found that the Sarax had fortified his system; his reflexes and strength were increased dramatically. As Jim explained, “Oh, didn’t I tell you? The chemicals responsible for almost killing you also kept you alive. Now that they don’t have to stop you from dying, your body has been supercharged.”

So that was great. Coupled with his natural agility and gymnastics training, Henry was soon learning to pull off stunts that you wouldn’t think you could find outside of The Matrix. Henry was gaining greater control over his morphological capabilities. At the start, he could only transform his entire body. Now, with practice, His control grew to the point where he could isolate basic body parts, swapping tongues, or hands with their new counterparts. Henry was learning that in a primarily human form, it was more difficult than he had thought.

For instance, if he wanted to use chameleon eyes to see around him, it was almost too disconcerting to handle until he changed to the chameleon visual centers of the brain as well, which left him unable to see colors when he was using chameleon sight.

But he was learning basic “sets” to morph, and was drastically reducing time to get into them. His tongue could be altered in less than two seconds. Henry first discovered the many interesting uses of his tongue shortly after his release from the hospital ward. Jim took him to a spare room tucked away from the main area. It was about 30×30 and nothing but gray concrete. “Okay,” Jim said, “Maybe you were wondering about that big Plexiglas dome over you on the hospital bed?” Henry shrugged and gave a quick nod, as if for Jim to continue.

“Well, that dome was there to keep you from giving people an awful tongue lashing, and -”

“Oh, was I saying things while I was unconscious? I did that coming out of the anesthetic after my tonsils were removed and I’m sorry if I said anything…”

“No, no, no,” Jim interrupted. “I was making a joke. You’ll understand in a second. Here, grab this.” Jim held up a baseball. Henry started to step forward, but Jim stretched out a hand. “Nope, no hands. Move back.” Henry stepped back, feeling stupid. How the heck was he going to get a ball from ten feet away, even if he could use his hands? Just before he was about to ask Jim what in the world was he trying to do, Henry remembered the comment Jim had just made. His mind flashed back to a few years ago, when he was watching Animal Planet on a boring evening with some friends. The show was about reptiles, and one section showed segments of a chameleon catching bugs with its tongue. Henry laughed and made an amusing attempt to catch a potato chip with his tongue. The memory passed in a flash, and Henry quickly made the relevant changes.

Staring at the ball, he focused, and THWAP; a blur of pinkish tongue zapped out and grabbed the ball almost before he could recognize what he was doing. “Whaa!’ said Henry, spitting the ball out of his mouth. “Whoah,” he said again, after his mouth was clear. “That was amazing!” Then he realized just how “Twilight Zone” it was and recoiled. “Oh, that was gross!” But then he laughed. “Okay, It was cool.” He picked up the ball and tossed it to Jim. “Do it again.” he said.

Jim picked up the ball, and threw it. Or more specifically, he went through the motions of throwing it without actually doing it, as Henry had snatched it from his hand mid-throw. Jim stared at the far wall looking for the amazing vanishing ball. Then he gave a side-glance at Henry and did a double take.

“Sorry,” apologized Henry. “It’s pretty instinctual. I think, ‘maybe I should grab that’; and the next thing I know, it’s in front of me. I think I’m going to have a harder time stopping myself from doing it than practicing it.”

“Oh, well that kind of makes sense,” said Jim, but trailed off because Henry was sticking out his tongue as far as it could go. It was about seventeen feet, and watching the big muscle writhe and twist around was very interesting. Suddenly, the tongue, with its big sticky glob on the end, zipped back into Henry’s mouth like a measuring tape. Only it was much faster and a lot less noisy. Henry shot a brief, excited glance at Jim, then shot his tongue at the ceiling. It stuck, and Henry pulled on the huge long muscle, and to his surprise, he shot up to meet his tongue rather than the other way around. He relaxed his tongue, and fell towards the ground again. Hanging two feet off the floor, he stared at the stubbornly attached end, and flexed some different muscles. The tongue detached from the ceiling and Henry dropped to the ground.

“Well,” he said. “This changes a lot.”

Chapter Four

“So where were you for three months?” asked Henry’s friend Lloyd.

“You know I can’t tell you that.” Henry answered. The official cover story was that he was away working on a confidential, top-secret project for the past three months. “It’s strictly confidential.”

“Oh, come on, how ‘bout a hint?”

Henry stuck out his tongue. His human tongue, that is. It was a hint, but Lloyd obviously couldn’t tell. They were in a restaurant catching up on the time Henry had missed. “You can tell me. I keep can keep secrets!”

“Like when John made you swear not to tell anybody about-”

“Okay, besides that.” Lloyd countered.

“Like when Ike Harrison said that he was going to put worms in-” Lloyd had spilled the news to a friend and the story was all over the school in less than an hour.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. I wouldn’t tell anybody anything.”

“That’s what you told Ike.”

Not as much had happened in the past few months as Henry thought would have. In fact, a lot of people he knew went on vacations, so there was little to find out about. Mostly people were wondering what Henry was doing for three months, having not come home once. Theories ranged from him being buried in research, to him going to the moon to capture escaped aliens from Mars. That last one was a joke, but Henry thought his weird, conspiracy theory collecting, Aunt Cathy half-believed it.

Eventually Henry packed up and returned to the base. They still had a lot of testing to do. As Henry drove, he thought back to his recent experiences and pondered on how lucky he had been. He could have just as easily been dead, or had a permanent tail or something. He pulled into his parking spot at the huge Lincoln center compounds. Entering the door he saw Jim waiting for him.

Looking up from his watch, he said, “Where were you? You were supposed to be here,” he glanced at his watch, “three minutes and forty-two seconds ago!”

Jim had an impatient streak that was occasionally quite annoying. “Oh, my, gosh,” said Henry. “I totally lost track of the time. When I realized it, it was already ten seconds into my driving time! And then, when I finally got my keys into the ignition, I knew I was gonna be late. I’m so sorry I’m late.”

“Good. You should be,” said Jim, already thinking about his multitude of tests and totally oblivious to Henry’s sarcasm. “Hurry, If we jog, we can make up for lost time. You should really learn to keep better track of things. Why in the world would anyone forget the time?”

“We were discussing the going’s on of my absent months.” Henry said as he easily strode to keep up with Jim’s frantic jogging.

“What ‘going’s on’s’? I already told you who won the superbowl, and that Jeff in accounting got married. What else is there?”

“Other peoples weddings, babies, local news, international news, earthquakes, other weather, the county fair, and an entire host of other issues, for a starter.”

“So, basically, blah, blah, blah, whatever. Next time don’t be late.”

Henry mentally sighed. It was impossible when he got in one of his moods. Oh well, he was looking forward to the testing. As Jim explained, they were going to test his camouflage abilities. They entered a room with plain white walls. It was barren except for a projector on the ceiling. Or rather, a cluster of several projectors hanging from the ceiling, and hooked up to a computer through the one, small window. “Stay here.” said Jim, and raced out the door, up the stairs, and into the room that the little window looked onto.

“Okay,” he explained through the hidden speakerphone system, “We’re going to test you on that camouflage of yours. Chameleons don’t actually change colors from their environment, so I’m not expecting to much, but you should be able to change into some basic camo patterns.” It turned out Jim was right, but while practicing, Henry came across some very neat colors and patterns. They looked really cool, with the scales etched into his body and the patterns defining and slowly changing before his eyes. Then he recalled a lesson from science class in high school, and tried out his idea.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold it! What are you doing?!” Jim yelled into the speaker. “You practically disappeared from the thermal scanner! How’d you do that?”

Henry smiled and said, “I remembered about Lizards being cold-blooded, and I thought that maybe I wouldn’t show up on the infrared if I went cold blooded. Bet you’re jealous you didn’t think of it first, eh, Brainiac?”

As a matter of fact, he was slightly jealous, but he quickly dispelled that in favor of contemplating all the intriguing possibilities that this could lead to.

“Nah, not jealous at all, Liz.”

“Hey!”

“I hope you’re ready for a whole bunch of brand new tests, because you just opened up a whole new branch of very interesting research.”

Henry struggled with an urge to shoot his tongue through the glass and into Jim’s face. “Oh great,” he muttered to himself. “A whole bunch of tests. Hey, I know,” he continued to himself, under his breath, “Why don’t I just take tests all day long. I just love taking test after test after test. I just know Jim’s getting some fiendish delight in making me his personal guinea pig. It’s his revenge because I thought of it before he did. Little Einstein would just adore running more and more tests, the little-”

“Hey, you down there. Stop mumbling! We’ve got test after test after test coming up because of your little discovery. Buck up, we’ve got a long day ahead of you!”

I knew it, thought Henry.

[Notes.] Yes, the being able to pick up his whole body thing is kind of unrealistic. No, I don’t care. It’s all explainable by the magic of Sarax, that body-boosting miracle fluid. In other news. some parts of this are pretty funny. Although they are essentially superheroes (the A-Team meets the Animorphs,) it was always intended to have its comical moments, making fun of the whole process at the same time as kicking butt. Also, I realize that “top secret” is not exactly a cover story, but the best place to hide something is right out in the open. Hey, it’s classified, he can’t tell anyone. There’s no stories to contradict each other. More chapters coming later, and possibly even alternate drafts.

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