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Going Home: Great Oaks, Part 1 (an Excerpt) Going Home is a series that Explores the city of Tiranis through the eyes of Eric Clarkson, a returning veteran, who finds that he city has changed more than he expected in his absences. Each section of the series will focus on a different part of the city while Eric gets pulled into problems typical to that area, or sometime not so typical. This is about 1000 words of the 15,700 words chapter. You can read the full story here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/16302947 , as well as other stories set in the world of Tiranis by joining my Patreon at the 1$ level Going home: Great Oaks, Part 1 It was a loop. One of the logical conundrum one of the sergeants liked to recite. He could break the window, that would cut the loop, but it would attract attention. He widened the diagram to include the entire door and saw there was a gap at the base of the window. Very narrow and covered by a rubber strip. He didn’t have anything thin enough to slip in. And a quick look around didn’t show him anything he could use. An empty can had possibility, but it was too flimsy. He ran for the businesses, the one directly in front of him had a sign reading ‘Reignheart Medical Clinic.’ There was a hair and fur stylist on the left and a pharmacy on the right. He entered the clinic and looked around for something to use. “Can I help you?” The woman seated behind the counter looked at him expectantly. She was human, older, in her fifties; his mother’s age, the thought came unbidden, when he left for the army. With it came the reminder that she was now dead and he felt a pang of sorrow. Only he couldn’t deal with that right now. There was something more important. There had to be something here that would let him open the door. A lion in a doctor’s smock opened a door and let an older lemur out. He froze. “Eric?” Eric forced himself to look at him, then was surprised to recognize him. “Mister Reignheart?” How was it that of everyone in the city, he’d run into him for a second time? The lion smiled. “Do you need assistance with anything?” Eric began shaking his head, then stopped. He opened the door and pointed to the minivan. “Do you know who owns that?” Walter came to him and peered across the lot. “I’m afraid I don’t.” He looked at the older woman. “Jennifer?” She joined them. “No. It was there when I got here this morning. It must belong to one of the other people in the plaza. Eric nodded and ignored Walter’s questioning expression. He couldn’t waste time going around looking for the owner. It might explode during that time. Once he’d disarm it he could work on figuring out who the target was. He looked over the counter at what was on the desk, hoping the receptionist had one of those thin metal rulers that had been popular with his classmates, but there was nothing like that. Not even papers or a pencil. All there was on the counter was a computer, a phone and a tablet. Maybe someone in the waiting room might have something? Many of the women had large purses and they looked like they could contain anything they needed. His mother’s purse had certainly seemed like it contained whatever she needed, no matter how strange. But it wouldn’t be polite to just rummage through them. He stepped forward to ask them to look for something and a small plant with thin reflective leaves became visible at the back of the room, next or one of the office doors. Reflective? What plant had metallic leaves? And then the object resolved itself. It wasn’t a plant. It was a short pole with thin metal bands jutting off, curling at the end, it gave the illusion of a very crude fern. If it was an art piece, Eric thought as he stepped to it, he didn’t see the appeal. Walter called after him, as did a woman as she opened her office door, but he ignored them. The ‘leaves’ were thin enough, and there was enough of a straight length for what he needed. He broke one off, the weld easily giving out, and headed out. “I need to borrow this.” Walter and the others stood there, watching him leave. He cut the jagged end where the welding had been done and then made a notch in the side, to use and catch the mechanism. He slipped it in, having to force it past the rubber and then it scraped down the inside of the door. After that it was guesswork, moving the strip and trying to get the notch to grab onto the rod so he could pull it up. He could see the lock mechanism easily enough, but the metal strip he was using wasn’t technological. Twice he thought he’d gotten it, only for nothing to happen when he pulled. The second time he pulled hard in frustration and it came out. He forced himself to calm, he wouldn’t accomplish anything by getting angry. He pushed it back in and tried again. Steps caught his attention, regular, firm, approaching from the sidewalk, not the shops. A police officer had to have noticed him and came to investigate. Hopefully he could explain about the bomb without having to say too much about when he could do. As the steps came closer, he could make out three sets of them. When he looked in the window, expecting to see the blue and yellow of the Tiranis Police Department, he saw people dressed in black and wearing face-covering masks. He reacted without thinking on seeing the arm reach for him. He turned and shoved it aside, then brought up his in a defensive pose. The person before him studied him, a man, Eric thought, which was confirmed when he spoke. “You’re meddling in things that don’t concern you.” Eric couldn’t tell if they were humans or furries. Their masks all had muzzles, but they also had bumps where human ears would be, and their head covering would keep furry ears out of sight. It was a simple, and clever disguise. The one thing Eric could tell about them was that they had training. They stood relaxed, but they all had a hand near the knife each had at their belt, and they were ready to act. He couldn’t see guns, so that was good. Eric smiled. “I like to think that bombs concern everyone, don’t you?”
The Lord Tiranis, An Origin, Part 1 A story of the past The next two weeks proved to be great. If not for all the test the scientist put him through it would be amazing, but the sex made it all worthwhile. He got to experience it with all but two of his barrack mates, and each one brought him pleasure in slightly different ways. They taught him what they liked and he did his best to ensure they enjoyed it as much as he did. His first dinner had exposed him to food that was nothing like the slop he'd been fed before, and the following meals just widened that experience. His friends laughed when he piled on different plates and tasted everything. He couldn't get enough of the tastes he had access to now. He realized that they weren't undisciplined, like he'd first thought. Even though no one forced them to, they all went out every day to run two kilometers. Then they did an hour of weight training, and then sparred. Through out that some would be taken to practice their powers under supervision. LRK was taken for tests. Many tests that didn't seem to amount to anything. That wasn't going well. None of the tests had revealed what he could do. They had him fight, meditate. They'd hooked him up to machines that shocked him. He'd spent hours in a freezer, then more time in a room so hot he thought he'd burst into flame, but nothing happened there either. The others tried to comfort him by explaining the scientist didn't know what they were doing. They were just putting him through the methods that had worked to reveal one of their abilities. They did their best to help him, by explaining how they use them, what they did to improve their control. LRK did his best not to let the lack of result get to him, but today he'd heard the word defect mentioned again. He didn't want to be defective, that meant being recycled. He didn't even want to be normal, that meant he'd be sent to one of the infantry division, away from his friends. That had been another word he hadn't had when he'd arrived; 'friends.' Peek, the house cat who heard minds had explained its meaning, and LRK held it dear. He didn't want to lose that. He would leave, if ordered to, he was a soldier, but he hoped he wouldn't have to. Something else this facility had was a pool. And his friends liked spending time around it. They played with large balls around it. Some lied on towels, letting the sun warm them. LRK enjoyed that, but there were other things he preferred doing if he was lying down, and he'd been warned the scientist didn't appreciate when they did that in public. He'd come today because his friends had insisted. He hadn't felt like doing anything. The fear he was normal or defective was sapping most of his energy, but they'd said being in the sun would do him good, so he'd followed them out and to the back of the research building, where the pool was located. Unlike them he hadn't changed out of his fatigue into bathing suits. Once there he just took off his boots and sat at the edge of the pool, putting his feet in the water. As with the previous days, Rhine was the only one of them in the pool. Unlike LRK and the others, the otter loved the water. LRK didn't mind getting wet, but the idea of being waterlogged in three or four meters of water scared him. He could feel how heavier he was when his fur was wet. He'd sink right to the bottom. Rhine had tried to convince him otherwise, but LRK was a cat. Cats didn't belong in water, his reading had confirmed that. So it was just Rhine and some of the humans swimming about. After ten minutes LRK stood and shook his feet. He'd had enough of the sun and the water. Further back, CM, VeeDee, Bear and Copper, a vixen who could start fires, were laughing as they threw a beach ball at each other, dodging and then running after it. Bear waved for him to join them, but he shook his head. He realized that he should spend more time with them, if he was going to be sent away, either to be recycled or to join the infantry units, he should cherish every minute he was with them. Only, instead of making him feel better, when he was with them it was a reminder of what he'd miss when he was gone.