Posted by: lordkyler | January 8, 2011

Animoids the Book – Part Three

This is the third installment of one of my drafts for the Animoids novelization. The previous two segments can be found here and here.

Notes are afterward.

Chapter Five

Test after test after test later, Henry finally got to go to the gym. The place had been cleared out so he could practice while morphed. The other patrons weren’t too happy with this arrangement. One extremely chubby man named Simon had come for the first time in over a year, and when they kicked everybody out, he was so offended that he vowed never to exercise again. He happily accepted the food vouchers for the cafeteria they gave him after he complained, however.

“Let’s hurry up, Henry,” said Jim. “I want to see Simon. He said he was going to eat a five pound chocolate cake in one sitting. He got it from his food vouchers. I don’t want to miss this.”

Henry was not going to miss his only chance to exercise after all those boring hours, though. He wanted to get Jim’s persistent urging of “okay, change back to warm-blooded now. Sloowwlly, okay?”; out of his mind. He needed to talk to Jim about calming down a little. He changed to chameleon hands. He watched his fingers change as the bone structure shifted. His fingers became smaller and changed into a zygodactyl formation, with two fingers forward and two back. This gave him a better hold on pipes, and gaining scales made it easier to grasp rough surfaces. He could almost climb straight up, with no handholds. The wall had to be tilted a little or he wouldn’t have enough grip. When his hands finished, it reminded him somewhat of the Vulcan salute. Henry ran and jumped for the parallel bars. Flipping, he grabbed the top one. Soon he was pulling off amazing performances, much better than his previous attempts before the transformation. Suddenly, he swung his feet straight up into the air. Hanging there for several seconds, he then flipped around and grabbed the bar with his feet. Chameleon feet. And stood there.

“Cool,” said Henry. “I can balance on bars, ropes, pipes, anything that’s small enough to get my feet around.” To demonstrate, he leaped from the bar, and started to run across the monkey bars. Then he tried to hang from his tail, but it didn’t work very well. Then he used the tail for balance, and that worked much better. Then he went back to human. He was going to test his new agility from the Sarax strengthening alone. He jumped, from a standing position and was surprised with the height he reached. He got a running start and did a wall flip, with two twists. Amazed, he did it again. He was hardly even tired.

“Hey Jim, check this out.” he called to Jim.

“Oh, what?” said Jim, looking up from his cell phone, where someone had sent him pictures of Simon’s guzzling in the cafeteria. He was almost half done with the whole cake.

Henry did it again. Then he did a backflip, landed on his feet, and put the momentum into a back roll. When he hit his feet again, he jumped forward again, doing another flip. “Cool, huh?”

Jim was duly impressed. “Try doing some of those backflip things.”

Henry knew what he was talking about, and proceeded to do a chain of continuous backflips. “You know,” he said, getting slightly dizzy from the continuous motion, “We should probably get me some karate lessons or something, so I can be ready when the military puts me into action.”

Jim looked up from his phone again. “Who told you that?”

“Nobody,” Henry replied, done flipping. He was now doing some flying kicks and punches to the punching bags. The heavy bags swung from the impacts. “I figured it out myself. It wasn’t that difficult, you know.”

“Well, yeah, they’ve wanted you for a while now. They’re going to have an evaluation test in a week or two, and we’re supposed to get you trained in combat for it.”

Henry sighed. Sometimes he hated being right. At least he could probably do his scientific stuff when he wasn’t needed for action. Speaking of which…

“Hey, Jim, I kind of need a suit.”

“A business suit?”

“No, more like a super hero type outfit. When I morph to chameleon completely, I end up trapped in a pile of my clothes. If I morph back, I have to be back at the clothes or find some, or else… anyway, I need some kind of special suit, or I’ll end up in the middle of wherever, in my birthday one.”

“Well, I have been working on a kind of a thing that could be adapted to that. I’ll get working on it, as soon as you’re done jumping around like Jackie Chan after fifty cups of caffeine!!!”

Henry had been getting his chameleon tongue in the action, and the punching bags were beginning to come loose from the hangers on the ceiling. Henry was very, very active, jumping around much like Jim had said. He was a complete novice to martial arts, and wasn’t particularly good, but his blinding speed made up for that, although later, with some lessons, he became much more efficient with his speed and energy, and actually did punch the punching bag so hard it fell off.

For now though, he was content to sit down and pant. “Sheesh,” said Jim, looking at the battered punching bags. “We’re going to have to have these re-covered.”

Chapter Six

Two weeks later, Henry stood ready to begin the testing run. He wanted to do well; even though he would have to change his career quite a bit if this turned out as well as he expected it to.

He had always enjoyed watching movies and reading comic books about superheroes, and half thought he could produce his own action movie. In fact, he was working on a little project on his computer, a short film showing a fight between two superheroes. But now, he had the opportunity to become one himself, sort of, and the movie got moved aside for his training sessions, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

They had hired a martial arts expert, and had had him sign a confidentiality agreement that said if he revealed anything that happened in the proceedings, he could be shot and/or killed. This gave Henry a sudden realization of just how much the military was expecting from him.

The man had trained Henry in some basics of different martial arts. He was so quick that it was hard not to beat the trainer up with a few wild blows during practice sessions. with the training, however, he could beat the trainer with one well placed blow. He was learning to be a super-efficient fighter. The martial arts trainer had difficulty adjusting to the tongue, as most people did. Some people even got mental blocks from the strange phenomenon, and refused to believe it, coming up with more plausible situations subconsciously. It was difficult to comprehend mentally, and impossible to cope physically.

Once the martial arts master had gotten his mind around the concept of a seventeen foot tongue quicker than a striking snake, he came up with the most sensible solution, to have his trainee come up with his own fighting style for the tongue. There was no frame of reference for him, and he had no way of comprehending it or studying it at all. So he left Henry to his own, teaching him the basics, and Henry had done admirably well.

It was now time to put those skills to the test. Henry hopped out of the sunroof of the jeep with two short powerful bounds. Jim took the door. “You know, just because you’re a super powerful, lightning fast, morph capable superhero doesn’t mean you have to show off,” said Jim. Henry shrugged, slightly sheepishly, and said, “Sorry, it’s kind of natural now. You know, like Spider-Man, or something.”

Jim happened to collect some comic books, so he did know what Henry was talking about. Henry was looking off into the distance. A large group of hastily constructed building was about a half mile to the south. They were the training grounds. It was kind of hard to see it though, because of the heat waves coming off of the hard, cracked earth. They were in the middle of a desert, at least thirty miles from the nearest small town.

Henry was starting to get hot, so he switched to cold-blooded. Immediately, he felt cooler, and started heating up much slower. Now, though, he enjoyed the heat. He could feel it sinking into him, sending soft warm rays of heat swirling through his body. It was a very comforting feeling, and he felt he could have just stood there, soaking up all the delicious sunshine. He had his eyes closed, and was standing there; ready to melt from the sheer pleasure, when Jim tapped his shoulder.

“Umm, Henry, not to wake you up or anything, but we’ve kind of got business to do here.”

“Oh, sorry,” said Henry, snapping himself out of it, regrettably. It still felt nice. He decided he had to change back so he wouldn’t be distracted. He sighed. Jim shot him a quick glance, a quizzical expression on his face, and then turned his attention back to the trial grounds. “Hot today,” he commented. Henry groaned mentally, and resolved to catch some rays next time he was off duty.

Oh well, down to business, he thought, and started get ready. He had his new, beta suit on. It was also getting a trial run. It had performed admirably on the tests. It was very light, and if Henry couldn’t have felt it touching his skin, he would have thought that he wasn’t wearing anything. It was a synthetic second set of skin that fit like clothes. They had been treated with CR-39 and would do everything that Henry could, including morph, as it was practically a living being, taking cues from Henry’s physiological changes themselves.

They looked normal, but that was because the default skin pigment was designed to be like actual clothes. They could also change color with Henry, so they could become camouflage as well. Henry was understandably amazed and thoroughly satisfied.

A voice crackled over the radio set in the jeep. ***This is base, we are ready to begin testing, please respond when ready. Over.*** Henry nodded, and Jim spoke into the mike, “Roger that, ready to begin on your signal, over.”

Three bursts of static came in over the speaker. “tsch tsch tsschch”

Henry was off like the wind before the third blast had died away.

[Notes] The chocolate cake thing was maybe not quite as funny as I’d envisioned, and might be a little overdone. Zygodactyl means you have two toes facing forward, and two facing backwards, like a woodpecker. Chameleons don’t actually have zygodactyl feet, though, that was my bad.

Henry has always been kind of a nerd, although his dedication to his research could definitely be expressed better than “science stuff.” Also, in more recent versions of the story, he is more enthusiastic about becoming a special agent type.

However, despite his nerdish hobbies, he stays in shape with gymnastics, and has been doing so for a long time. With the Sarax (also known as CR-37) boosting everything from his energy to reflexes to immune system, he is now capable of crazy stunts and insane hand-to-hand combat skills, far faster and stronger than normal humans. It may seem that turning into animals is the real superpower, but really it’s the Sarax boosting both human and animal bodies that is the most remarkable and useful, something that will be realized in story sooner or later.

The “Magic Pants” situation in movies is usually necessary, but unrealistic. So I avoided both problems by coming up with the “beta suit.” (name pending changes) It’s a symbiotic, synthetic organism melded with Henry’s new recombinant DNA, fitting like clothes, and able to morph with him, be taken off at any time, or even mold itself to his skin, disguising him. Later on, amazing things will happen with the suit, and it’s capabilities… things which have been prematurely said in this draft.

I really didn’t need to quote the three bursts of static.

Next time, Henry Kicks Butt.

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