CyberWolf: The Whelping

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The Soul of the Beast

The company was doing well, I thought as I looked at my newly renovated, handicapped accessible apartment. I had an accessible bathroom and shower, should I need them, voice activated appliances, even robotic arms that extended from the ceiling for cooking.

I came up with the perfect frightful image for the battle-mech.Even so, I felt angry, furious, frustrated like a caged animal. So far, the plan against the Animen was going well. I developed two robotic ravens I called Hunginn and Munnin. Their eyes were cameras which installed in their eyes recorded a three hundred sixty degree view of everything around them. So far, they seemed to be serving me as well as their name sakes served their Norse Master. I knew where some of the illegal Animen activities took place, mostly at an old Christian church in Bellevue. The area used to be full of two story houses and manicured lawns. Now though, it looked like a hangout for toughs and ladies of the evening. My ravens flew in the evening sky at one with the rising twilight. Perfectly camouflaged, I saw beatings, robberies, muggings. Each example of cruelty made me want to howl with rage. I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to get out there and kick some ass. I called Doctor McKenna. “Is it finished?” I asked. I couldn’t keep a rough growl out of my voice.

“I’ll take you over to the warehouse in an hour.” She said. She said.

An interminable hour later, Julianna Mckenna arrived at my apartment. She looked pensive and lost in herself. I could tell from her face that a storm of thought was raging in her mind and a flood of emotion was molding the expression the way the tide molds sand on a beach. I recognized her expression. It reminded me of the feeling I go after I was shot. The one Jessica was helping me to work past. It reminded me of the gaping maw in my soul that Silverwolf’s Hopie Kachina was using now as a cave.

“What’s troubling you Juliana?” I asked solicitously. She was silent for a moment, as if she could not focus on her thoughts. Finally, her words came out in a rush. Why are you doing this?” She asked.

“This?” My voice lilted interrogatively.

“You know, your Crusade.”

“Ah, that.” I took a moment to center myself and make sure I was answering truthfully. In the darkness behind my eyelids, I saw only impenetrable darkness, and in the sounds around me I heard mines of pain and cries of terror and pain. The cries of the city, of my city. My mind, held aloft on the winds of memory, went back to that afternoon at the park with Jessica. I remembered what we were discussing. Perhaps I could find Julianna’s answer in the wisdom of another parable.”

“You have heard, I trust, of Siddhartha Gautama?”

“The Buddha, of course,” she said.

“Before he reached enlightenment, Gautama was jarred from complacency by an encounter with chaos. Everything in his world had been shattered to pieces. For the first time in his sheltered life he saw how screwed up life could be. It broke him and led him to drown himself in the bleakest pools of suffering before he could plant himself and take root under Nirvana’s Bodhi tree. But when he finally decided to rise from sufferings bleak waters, he had claimed pearls of wisdom, which helped his people cope with their suffering.”

“Now, looked around you Julianna”. I heard my voice grow coarse with authoritative conviction, growing rougher, and louder with every block we passed. The people of this city are drowning in a pool of suffering every bit as deep as the one Gautama was plumbing. Do you hear the gasps of fear outside these windows, the screams of rage and pain? These people have been held hostage by a group of criminals who don’t care, who they hurt, they’re bleeding the life out of the innocent people who need to be protected,. The police aren’t getting it done so I’ve gotta step up. I hope you will too.”

”Aren’t you forgetting that Buddha advocated a philosophy of moderation?” Said Julianna, “What you’re proposing sounds very extreme.”

“People are demoralized and frightened. They can’t count on the law to protect them.“ A scream rent the peaceful fabric of the night. A humanoid bat tore out of the darkness with a human seventy year old woman caught in its talons. Its wings beat the wind hard and took its prey out of sight before we could do anything. Tears flooded Juliana’s face. She watched them until they were out of sight.

We didn’t speak the rest of the way to the warehouse, each grappling with our own private thoughts and demons. But while Julianna was likely trying to banish them, I was embracing them.

The warehouse was shrouded in shadows and mists. I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of dark satisfaction as I rolled myself out of the van and into the cavernous building. Things were coming together. Payback will be coming soon.

It was beautiful. It absolutely captivated me. a metal creature that look like something out of a horror movie. A wolf’s head on a chorded neck of cybernetic muscle. It had a broad chest and hard legs with clawed hands and feet. It looked amazing as it glistened seductively in the rising moonlight. My hands reached out of their own accord and began to caress its chest. It stared at me with cold, slightly eyes. Its gaze charged the air with expectation. It was waiting for something. It was waiting for me, its soul. “Is it functional?” I asked.

“Indeed it is.” Lab-Rat spoke like a proud father.

“It’s beautiful.” I spoke to this dead thing of metal and circuits as if commanding Lazarus in his tomb and said “Lycoan, record user voiceprint and grant cockpit access.”

“Understood” said the machine. I input the code words for driving mode.

“I hide in the light of day.” The wolf’s body transformed itself smoothly with no fuss or fanfare and little noise into an electronic wheelchair.

“Excellent”, I said, with palatable excitement in my voice. I cast about the room and my eyes finally fell upon a wooden board. I parked my chair parallel to Lycoan, and, quick as a wink, slid from my old chair into Lycoan’s welcoming, seat. It felt like claiming Destiney. Once again, I felt the Kachina snarling, struggling against his psychic imprisonment. I struggled to mentally coral him a few moments more as I said “Where’s the nearest group of Animen?”

Julianna answered. “An old house in Bellevue.”

“Address?” The voice that queried her was beginning to sound other than human: dark, low, and cold, even to me.

“I uploaded it to the chair’s “GPS.” Lab-rat intoned.”

I was starting to breathe heavily and my voice took on a frightening, low, raspy growl, as I input the code for Mech-Mode, “I howl at the light of the moon.”

I screamed as electrodes shocked muscles into movement. Servomotors whirred quietly as the chair vertically elongated itself. My legs, arms, feet, and chest, were shielded by metal which extended itself from hidden slots in the chair. As this was happening, I experienced a feeling of otherness, of becoming something other than myself. It felt like I was being swept away on a wave of transformation. I felt myself take an involuntary breath as I sank beneath its waters, and the Wolf went to the surface in my stead. My last thought before the wolf eclipsed me completely was “I have become the soul of the beast.”

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