Plan of the Shusheen

Shifter Worlds

By Vic James

Copyright 2012 by Vic James

vicjames2@hotmail.com

vicjames.com

 

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Please check out my other stories:

Slave for a Day - A young man finds romance and adventures in the far future

http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/sf-fantasy/slave-for-a-day/

Owen Two young friends become lovers while dealing with a tragic loss

http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/highschool/owen

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

"Ben. Ben." I woke up. "We're almost to the house."

I realized we were both still naked and his cock was still inside me. I felt deeply ashamed. I had behaved like a whore. I pulled slowly off him and dressed myself. I couldn't look at Mike.

"Ben, are you all right?"

I couldn't speak. I was too ashamed. I hated myself for behaving the way I had. I didn't blame Mike.

"Ben, please talk to me!"

I started crying.

Mike pulled me to him. "I love you, Ben."

"I love you, Mike. But I don't know what happened. I feel like such a slut!"

"It's the mating bond. That's why. And you are not a slut! You are the only person I will ever love again and I am the only person you will ever love. We made love, Ben! Is there some reason you find it shameful?"

"I just met you, Mike! I don't even know your last name!"

"If we had known each other for years, would it have bothered you less?"

"Yes! It would have bothered me less if I knew you for a full day!"

"I'm sorry, Ben."

"It's not you, Mike."

"Why not? I acted the same way you did."

I thought about that. I wanted to look at Mike, but he was still naked.

"Ben, you said you were falling in love with me. Are you sure?"

"Yes."

"Well I love you! And we are going to love each other and have incredible sex for the rest of our lives. Is that really so horrible? We will be together from now on. You know that. Does it make that much difference that we didn't wait until tomorrow to have sex?"

I started laughing. Put like that, I couldn't argue. I leaned over and kissed him.

"I was just getting used to no sex at all. I suppose I could give up celibacy..." He chuckled. "But you're right. I was thinking of you as a stranger I just met in a bar and I'm a romantic. I've always been after a relationship, so I was never interested in casual sex. But this is not the same thing at all. This is all so very new to me, Mike. I've never even heard of a mating bond."

"It's wonderful, isn't it?" He grinned at me.

I laughed again. "I guess I won't ever need Viagra with you nearby!"

"Nope. You'll always want me and I will always want you. We will be natural aphrodisiacs for each other for the rest of our lives. Sex, sex, and more sex! And did I mention the sex?" I laughed.

I looked at his erection. I thought it was the most wonderful thing in the universe.

"Touch me, Ben. Hold it." I reached out and wrapped my hand around his cock. He moaned. I stroked it. Mike's smell and his erection shut down my brain again. I took him in my mouth and sucked. I didn't even think about the fact that his cock had been in my ass.

"Yes, baby! Make me come!"

I sucked and moaned as I sucked. Mike thrust his groin up at me. Then he grabbed my head and started fucking my mouth. His cock went easily into my throat. We both moaned as he fucked my face. Finally, he shouted and unloaded, his cock pulsing with each discharge. I pulled back so I could taste his come. I swallowed over and over.

When he was done, he pulled me up and kissed me. "I love you, Ben. Please believe me." I hugged him and rested my head on his shoulder. I sighed, contentedly.

I looked around. "Damn, Mike! My come is all over everything!" I was embarrassed all over again. I put my face in my hands. I realized Mike was moving and looked at him. He was licking my come. Some was on the outside of one of the glasses. He picked it up and licked my come off.

"Damn, baby. Your come is delicious. I used to think it tasted gross."

"That's how I feel about yours, Mike. When my ex came in my mouth once, I gargled twice to get the taste out of my mouth. But your come is absolutely delicious. As a matter of fact..."

Mike laughed. "I know the feeling. More! More! More!" I laughed, too.

"So it will always be that way between us?"

"Yes. That's why I've looked forward my whole life to meeting my mate. Sex with someone other than your mate can be good. But with your mate, it's always fantastic! Always! I have had sex before. A lot of sex, I told you I've been married, but sex with you was about ten times more intense. Just feeling your lips touch my cock was better than any sex I've ever had."

I wrapped my hand around his cock. "And this beauty is mine forever!"

"Yes. Only yours. And you are mine. Mine!"

"I should get dressed, Ben."

"Absolutely. I don't want anyone else getting a look at my goodies! Well, your goodies."

"They are yours, baby. No one else's."

Mike got dressed. He had removed my come from nearly everything. I saw some still on some upholstery. I rubbed it with a napkin. The napkin mostly shredded on the upholstery.

"Don't worry about it, baby. I'll have it cleaned. We aren't the first people to have sex in a limo, you know." That was true. It was the first time for me though.

"Fuck! Mike, we didn't use a condom!" Shit! It hadn't even occurred to me before now.

"Don't worry. You can't catch anything from me. I'm absolutely clean." I was relieved and I trusted him.

I looked out the window. We were in the country. No doubt about that. There was a heavy metal fence about fifteen feet high running alongside the road.

"That's some fence. Who does that belong to?"

"This is all my land."

Then we passed an electrified fence warning. "It's electric?"

"Yeah."

"Are you keeping things out or in?"

"Both." Hmm. Rich people do weird things.

"This must help keep the gerbils from escaping." Mike laughed.

"It keeps our competitors from finding out our secret to happy gerbils."

"Ahh. I see. Your gerbils aren't used to feed snakes, are they? I went to a pet shop once and saw one of the employees feed one to a snake. Yick!"

"No. Our gerbils are adopted by loving families."

"I'm very glad to hear it."

"I've always liked gerbils."

"Really?"

"Yes. Is it so hard to believe? Gerbils are nice."

"Oh, I think so. I have one."

"Just one?"

"Yes. I lied about breeding them."

"I forgive you. I figured you made the whole thing up."

"Nope. My gerbil is named Harriet and she is twenty eight years old."

"You made that up."

"Nope. It's the truth. I tested a longevity treatment to her and it seems to be working."

"I'll say it has." I wondered briefly if he was lying. I didn't think so. I remembered reading about calorie deprivation and how it extended the life spans of mice.

"Are you using calorie deprivation to extend her life?"

"No. But you're familiar with that?"

"Yes. I remember reading about it. Some people practice it, evidently, staying on ultra-low calorie diets in the hope of lengthening their very hungry lives." I laughed.

"We can go over the process, if you like."

"I'm pretty sure I won't understand it, but thanks."

I thought about the fence. One very large heavy duty electrified fence could very well be needed. Anything that extended a mammal's life that much could be extremely valuable!

We finally pulled into a driveway. I looked out the other window and could see the lake. It looked like his house had an excellent view of the lake.

We pulled up to a very large single story house. It was perched on a slope leading down to the lake. Mike opened the car door as soon as we stopped. He held it open for me.

"Welcome to your new home. I hope," he said.

I smiled at him. He took my hand and we walked up to the door. There were evergreens planted at each end of the house and azaleas up against the house. It was too bad they weren't blooming. There was ground cover below the azaleas. I looked around the front.

"Is that buffalo grass in the yard?"

"Yes, it is."

"So you've got low moisture buffalo grass planted next to high moisture azaleas?"

"It means we only need a sprinkler system against the house. We left bermuda on the rest of the yard."

We went in. After an entryway, we walked by a large dining room opposite a sitting or living room. The furniture wasn't ostentatious, which was nice. It didn't look like the kind of furniture people weren't supposed to use. We kept walking. Mike pointed to closed doors which mostly seemed to be bedrooms. One he said was a library. We walked alongside the kitchen and went outside onto a veranda.

It had an incredible view. There was wisteria growing along the walls along with some other flowering vines.

"Is that a passion flower?" I asked.

"Yes, it is."

I leaned over and smelled one of the flowers.

There was a two foot wall separating the veranda from the back yard. There was a drop-off on the other side of the veranda, because it was on the back side of a hill. There were stairs leading to the backyard.

I walked back to the table.

He pulled out a chair for me. "You can only pull chairs out for me if I can pull them for you, Mike."

He laughed and said "How about if we alternate?"

"OK!"

There was a pitcher of orange juice on the table. "Is that plain orange juice or is it spiked?"

"It's got some vodka in it."

"That's good. I hate to drink plain orange juice this late in the day." I poured us both a glass. I handed him one and took a sip of mine.

"Wow, this view is incredible. You have a beautiful home."

He said "We have a beautiful home!" I smiled at him.

"Really, Ben. I want you to be happy here. If there's something you don't like, or something you want, please tell me." I smiled at him. To be honest, if Mike was there, I'd be happy in a tent.

"God, you are so handsome!" I said to him.

"Thanks, Ben. I think you are the most stunning person I've ever seen." I think I probably blushed.

"I appreciate the drink, but you can drink whatever you want. You don't have to take half of my screwdrivers, you know." He laughed. "Are there a lot of Z's in it?" He looked like he didn't know what I meant. "In the vodka."

"Just one Z. Is that enough?"

"Well, I would have thought you could do better, but maybe the stock market is down." Mike laughed.

"It is. As soon as it improves, we will buy some more Z's."

"I'm kidding, of course. But if you'd rather drink something else, please do, Mike. You don't have to drink the same thing if you would rather have something else."

"Actually, I drink them all the time. That's why they were out here. Sometimes I like cape cods."

"I like those, too!"

I took another sip of mine.

"I thought rich people all drank eight hundred year old brandy." I said with a smile.

"Only the eight hundred year olds. I met one once who drank beer!"

"Oh. I bet his wife was embarrassed!"

"You're right! Wow! She would get mad if he drank one when they had guests. I heard her once tell someone it was champagne. The horrific part for her was he liked to drink it out of cans. He told her the aluminum made the cheap beer taste like it cost more." I laughed. "I really think he hated her. Once when I was there, she was about to leave to go shopping at Neiman Marcus. He told her Kroger had twelve packs of Keystone Light for $2.99. He asked to pick up eighteen packs when she got through shopping." I laughed.

"Did she?"

"Are you kidding? I doubt she has ever been in a supermarket in her life. He did it to annoy her, of course. She was such a snob and he wasn't."

I looked around some more. "I like it out here. A lot."

"Me too. I eat out here whenever I can. I often work out here also. I have misters in the ceiling to make it bearable in the summer."

I looked up. "I think I know him." I said, pointing up. He stared at me and then laughed when he got it.

"Mike, I want to ask you something and I want you to tell me the truth. Will you?"

"Of course."

"Why are you sitting way, way over there?" He laughed and pulled his chair alongside mine. I took his hand and held it.

"Much, much better, Mike."

"I think so too, baby!"

I leaned over and kissed him. Afterwards I had a feeling of peace and contentment that made me smile. I took his hand and kissed it.

"I guess we'll have to go to San Antonio to get my stuff."

"Or I can have it packed up and moved here. Are you sure you're ready for that, though?"

"I can't imagine going back, actually. I feel like I'm home." He smiled at me. I could tell he was very happy.

"I want to see Harriet. I've never seen a twenty eight year old gerbil."

"Well, there is only one!"

He got up and I followed him. "There is a side effect to the longevity treatment."

"I'd be surprised if there wasn't! I mean we'd all be immortal!"

We walked into a room with a very large gerbil.

"That's a big gerbil."

"Yes, she's still growing."

"Wow!"

Mike put his hand down to her. She sniffed it and then got up on her hind legs. He handed her a peanut. He should have handed her a whole bag. Harriet was about sixteen inches long not counting her tail. Her tail was more than three feet long.

"Did the treatment affect her brain? Is a twenty eight year old gerbil any more intelligent that a two year old?"

"I haven't noted any behavioral changes but I haven't done any brain scans. She remembers things. She's more knowledgeable. I don't actually know how smart she is. She's still not as smart as a dog."

"Can I pet her?"

"Of course." I reached down and stroked the top of her head. She seemed to enjoy it, then she looked at me. And she backed away.

"That's odd."

"There's a giant twenty eight year gerbil in the room and you think it's odd that she's cautious around a stranger?"

"Yes. You see, Mike...I'm a...Gerbil Whisperer." Mike started laughing so hard I thought he would choke.

"That must keep you really busy, Ben!"

"It does. Gerbils are my life. People from all over the world call me about their gerbil problems. I take all cases no matter how serious. Sometimes they just need a sympathetic ear. Most people don't realize that. Your average gerbil has self-esteem issues. They grow up hearing things like,`Look at the rat, mommy!'" Mike kept laughing and I loved his laugh!

"I wonder if she's lonely. I'm sure she has self-esteem issues. Mice probably sneak in here at night and make fun of her." Mike chuckled.

"She probably is lonely, but normal gerbils would be terrified of her. The choice was keeping her alive and lonely or euthanizing her. I didn't have the heart to do it."

"Let's go back outside." I followed him while we walked back to the veranda.

"Would you like a snack or anything to eat?"

"No, I'm fine.

"Where am I going to sleep?"

Mike stopped suddenly. "That's up to you."

"Let me rephrase it. Mike, will you show me your bedroom?"

"I would be delighted to show you."

We walked over to the other side of the house and entered a large room. It was a combination bedroom and den with a sofa, a loveseat, and a large screen TV in addition to the bedroom furniture. The walls were dark red and the wood was dark as well. The furniture was heavy looking. I thought it was an extremely masculine decor.

"I have trouble picturing your ex-wives being in this room."

"I had it redecorated. Do you like it?"

"Oh, yeah! It's great! But it's definitely a guy's room."

"Do you have servants?"

"I have a cook and housekeeper who live here. There are gardeners, but they don't live here."

"Are the live-ins going to wonder why a stranger is suddenly moving in?"

"No, they won't be surprised. They may be surprised when I don't run you off!" I laughed.

Mike showed me the bathroom. It was almost bigger than my apartment. It had a large walk-in shower, a hot tub, and even a bidet.

I wrapped my arms around him and sighed happily.

He kissed me and I thought I might at that moment be happier than I'd ever been.

I started unbuttoning his shirt. While I was unbuttoning him, he kicked his shoes off. I undid his pants and pulled them off him.

"You look much better without clothes, Mike."

"Yeah?" He smiled at me.

I pressed my face into his crotch and absorbed his scent.

I took his balls in my mouth and sucked them. I licked the area where his leg met his balls again. The taste made me tremble.

Mike pulled me to my feet. "Let's get you naked too, baby." He pulled my shirt off over my head and then knelt and pulled my shoes off. He pulled my pants and briefs down. Then he removed my socks. He stood up and pressed his mouth to mine. After we kissed, he backed me up towards the bed. I lay down and he lay on top of me. Feeling his weight on me, pressing me to the bed was wonderful. He kissed me again and then he pulled back and began licking my face.

"Baby, you taste so good!"

"You feel so good, Mike!" I ran my hands over every bit of him I could reach. I felt his muscles and his fur. I reached for his butt and pulled him down tighter against me. His cock was pressed against mine and it felt wonderful.

Mike pulled back and started licking my neck and then my shoulders. Then he bit one of my nipples. My cock throbbed. Finally he pressed his face into my groin and began moaning.

"So good!" He began licking my groin, my balls, and my cock. I moaned. Then he pushed my legs up and buried his face against my ass. He began licking my hole, whimpering as he did it. He rubbed his face all over my crack. His beard and stubble was like sandpaper and I trembled. He began fucking my hole with his tongue. Then his tongue slipped inside me. He lapped and licked and even chewed on my hole.

I cried out "Fuck me, Mike! Please! I need you in me!"

Mike looked at me with half opened eyes and growled. I stared at him. He was so gorgeous!

"I'm claiming you, mate!"

"I hate claims! They remind me of work!" Mike chuckled.

He climbed on top of me and pushed inside me in one motion. I screamed as he began pummeling me. I wrapped my arms around his arms and I watched him, both of us consumed with lust for each other. He leaned down and kissed me. He bit my bottom lip as he pulled away. I licked anywhere I could reach; his arms, his face when it was close. He tasted wonderful to me.

He leaned forward again and licked the inside of my ear. Then he bit it, hard. I screamed and came. I felt like half my internal organs were being shot out of my dick. He roared and I could feel his cock discharging inside me. His cock throbbed in me and I could feel his come filling me. I wanted it in me. I needed it. He leaned over to my other ear and bit it. I screamed and came again. Then he screamed and the throbbing of his cock intensified. I could feel more of his come filling me. Good! Good! I thought. More! I felt his cock seem to swell as he filled me with his come. The throbbing of his cock made me come again! I felt like he was spitting me open, but I wanted that!

He stopped moving and stared at me as his cock continued to throb inside me. He moaned and then he howled.

Without thinking I pushed my feet against his butt and used them to push him as deeply into me as I could. When I did that he moaned loudly. I felt a spasm in my butt I'd never felt before. I would have worried if it hadn't felt so good.

"What the hell is that, Ben?"

I gasped "The spasms?"

"Fuck, Ben! I'm coming again!"

"Yes! Yes! Mike! Shit!" I came again too.

Finally his cock began to soften in me. He collapsed on top of me.

I wrapped my arms tightly around him and hugged him.

"Never let me go, Mike! Never!"

I fell asleep with him on top of me.

When I woke up, Mike was wiping me with a damp towel. He grinned at me.

"Are you OK, baby? I didn't hurt you, did I?"

"No! I'm fantastic!"

"I agree completely!"

He was still naked and I reached for his cock. He laughed.

"I want it, Mike!"

"I know, baby. I wanted to lick you clean. But I decided you needed a break, so I used a towel!" We laughed.

"I love you, Mike."

"And I love you."

"You need food. You look thin! I didn't notice it before. Let's go back on the veranda."

"Sure!"

We got dressed and headed out there.

Cookies, brownies, and juice were on the table, as well as a tray with vegetables. I ate some carrots and then a couple of cookies and a brownie. I was hungry. Mike drank some juice.

I ended up finishing off the cookies.

"Ben, there's a lot you need to know about being my mate and the implications of the mating bond."

"OK."

"I'm going to ask you to do something odd, Ben. But I want you to trust me."

"OK. I trust you."

"Are you still hungry?"

"Not terribly."

"Then I want you to relax and close your eyes." I did. "Now I want you to picture a solid black space." I worked at it a while.

"OK. I have it."

"Now try to picture a red circle or ball hanging in the black." I tried.

"I can't."

"Don't worry about that. It took me a couple of hours to do it. You can keep trying or we can stop."

"I'll keep trying." After a few minutes I said "This must be very boring for you."

"Nope. There's nowhere else I'd rather be."

I went back to trying. I was finally able to picture a red blob.

"Does it need to be completely round?"

"Yes." I kept at it. I don't know how long it took.

"I'm starting to get a headache. Is that supposed to happen?" Mike laughed. I kept trying.

A few minutes later, I think, I said, "I have it now."

"Good. Fantastic."

"Try to picture the red circle or ball rotating counterclockwise." I groaned.

I worked at it a while and I finally did.

I escaped to another world. Information began filling my head. It seemed to be mostly dealing with biology and genetics, but there was also information about astronomy and physics. The knowledge seemed to pass through me. I read things and then they were gone. I heard things and then couldn't remember them.

I discovered the Shusheen, an alien race. I could see them walking alone and in groups. They looked more or less human but their faces pulled forward slightly into snouts more like a dog or bear. Their eyes were further apart than a human's. Their eyes looked human and were green but their arms were longer than an average human's. I watched a Shusheen change. I saw it tilt forward and its arms turned into front legs. It went down on all fours and the angle of its head changed. Its neck lengthened until it looked a little like a horse. I saw other Shusheen change into other types of animals. One walked into the sea and changed into a sea creature that looked a little like a plesiosaur. I saw it approach and hover in front of something that looked like a large fish. It and the fish seemed to stare at each other. Then the Shusheen touched the fish. After a little while the Shusheen headed back to land, changing back to its original shape while the fish swam away.

I saw Shusheen cities. They had no need for vehicles. They could change into a shape appropriate for travel, even wheeled bodies. I saw one Shusheen shrink, sprout feathers and wings and take off in the air.

I seemed to be walking alongside a Shusheen as I discovered these things. I couldn't hear a voice, but it was pointing at things. I watched a group of Shusheen all turn into creatures looking a little like greyhounds. They all took off running at an incredible speed.

Then I could hear voices. They became louder. I heard a voice say "We Can Not Kill". It was answered by other voices saying "We Do Not Die". As we walked, I started hearing it continuously "We Can Not Kill. We Do Not Die." It sounded like it was being said simultaneously by hundreds of voices like a chant.

The Shusheen guide pointed to a painting. The voices grew louder with their chant. The painting showed some kind of air battle. There were creatures that looked like giant bats with tiny human bodies between the wings. The little bodies looked like evil babies, with chubby arms and legs and large mouths full of pointed teeth. The words 'The Fithar' appeared in my mind. The other flyers in the painting looked like the Shusheen I saw sprout wings. Some of the Fithar were biting the Shusheen and many of the flyers were bloody. So it seemed to be a battle between the Shusheen and the Fithar although I saw no weapons.

Then my location changed suddenly to space. All the voices were gone. I looked around. I could see the Earth to one side. I was surrounded by golden oblong shapes. They seemed to be accompanying me. I appeared to be heading down somewhere in Russia or northern China. Then we were down. One of the brown oblong shapes I'd seen in space changed into a Shusheen. Did they travel through space without ships? I wondered. I walked with a group of Shusheen who seemed to be measuring things. Different looking shapes would extend from their bodies and go into objects. I saw them examine animals, passing their hands over them. The animals seemed calm, despite this. I recognized most of the animals, so it must have been in the present or not too far in the past.

Then I heard a voice "Ben, that was forty eight thousand years ago."

I saw an alien walking towards me. It appeared to be a female. There was a single breast in the middle of her belly. She walked up to me, stopped and said "I am Ar-Tan-Bey, Ben. I am or was a Shusheen."

She sat on the ground, so I did too. She began her story.

"I was a member of a scientific expedition to this world. This is the second closest habitable planet to the Shusheen home world Shilleen.

"We were all fascinated by the many life forms on this planet. The biosphere on Earth is much more complex than on our home world. The hundreds and sometimes thousands of different species of vegetation and animal life amazed us. Where on Shilleen, when we looked at the ground we might see a type of vegetation, on Earth in some places we could see ten or twenty species of vegetation

We performed many tests and discovered that these lifeforms and the ones from our world were extremely similar at the molecular and cellular level. We compared genomes of Earth species to Shilleen species and found an incredible number of identical genes. Sometimes species were almost identical. There is an insect that lives on Shilleen that looks exactly like an Earth butterfly. There was one major difference however. The organelle which allows the Shusheen to control the shape of our bodies is missing from all the cells of all the creatures we examined on this planet.

"We discovered there were three closely related sapient species on your world. You call them humans. One of the species formed a close relationship with a completely unrelated species and hunted side by side. You know of these humans as Neanderthals. The animals were wolves. Ar-Tan-Bey changed into a wolf and then reverted to her normal shape.

"We called the creatures vin. The Neanderthals in the area took advantage of the abilities of their vin partners to enable them to catch more food than they would otherwise have been able to catch.

"The Shusheen would simply change shape to enable them to do something better. After much discussion extending over decades, we decided to see if we could implant the organelle into the cells of Neanderthals. We decided not to test it on lower animals because those animals might end up with a competitive advantage over the sapient humans. We first ensured we could deactivate the organelle so that if the experiment was a failure, the individuals raised would be simply normal members of their race.

"We captured a female and extracted her eggs while she slept. We implanted the organelle in an egg and then fertilized it with sperm from a male." Ar-Tan-Bey changed shape into a kind of small laboratory. It was very odd seeing her hands change into surgical instruments.

"Once the egg was fertilized we implanted it into the female. The egg failed to develop. Other attempts were made and were also unsuccessful. Then we removed all the DNA from the organelle and replaced it with a section of vin DNA before we placed it in the egg. The organelle in our cells contains a small amount DNA, however it does not match anything in the Shusheen genome. The egg began to develop, but the embryo aborted after a few days. I decided to make one more attempt using the same technique. This time I attempted to implant the fertilized egg into my own body." I saw her change into a Neanderthal shape.

"By altering the conditions in my body, such as temperature and oxygen levels, I was able to keep the embryo alive and it continued to grow." I saw her Neanderthal shape grow pregnant.

"I was able to bring the creature to term and delivered it normally." She was holding a normal looking baby. I named the baby Ar-Ta-Bon in the Shusheen manner of naming, as though he were mine. I raised him but retained the shape of his biological mother. I tried to behave as his biological mother would have." I wondered what happened to the biological mother.

Ar-Tan-Bey smiled at me with her Neanderthal face and said "She was unharmed. We Can Not Kill, Ben."

I watched the child grow up with Ar-Tan-Bey. I asked what the other Shusheen were doing. "They were observing and performing their own experiments."

"Ar-Ta-Bon grew up healthy but did not change form. There seemed to be no way to teach him to do it. We do not need to learn to change. We only need to wish a change for it to happen. We do train on how to change into extremely complex forms such as the deep space travel form.

"He should have been able to change. Into a vin, if nothing else.

"One day while he was out exploring I changed my shape into a vin. I walked up to him and sat in front of him. He stroked my fur. I started walking away but he did not follow me. I turned back and sat in front of him again. Then I turned and walked away. This time he followed me. I began running, slowly at first. He ran to catch up with me. We ran together for a while. We ended trapped in an area of cliffs and caves with only one exit. We realized then we were being stalked by a large cat. I changed back into human and told Ar-Ta-Bon to stand behind me. The cat was approaching. Before I could change into a shape that could stop or frighten the cat, Ar-Ta-Bon changed shape into a very large vin and attacked and killed the cat."

"I was delighted that Ar-Ta-Bon was able to change shape, but I was upset about the death of the cat. I tried to explain that it was not our way. That we could have scared the cat away. But he did not understand. He knew he had to kill the cat before it killed us, and he did. I tried to explain that the cat did not have to die, but it was clear he didn't understand. I was disturbed by the death, but Ar-Ta-Bon was not a Shusheen. I thought of him as Shusheen because I had raised him and even given birth to him. The fact the fact that he looked different was irrelevant. Actual physical appearance is unimportant to us.

"I revealed my findings to the other members of the expedition. Several were extremely troubled by the killing, but others agreed with me that a non-Shusheen, was not and should not be bound by our restrictions. One of my colleagues pointed out that since he hadn't been taught Shusheen values, he could hardly have been expected to follow them. If anyone was to blame for the death of the cat, said that colleague, it was the Shusheen who had failed to teach him the alternatives.

"Then there was discussion of whether any additional creatures should be brought up as Shusheen. We discussed that too. My mate pointed out that humans could die, unlike us. Our ethics could very well end up making them extinct.

"With the help of another scientist we raised an unrelated female with the same genetic changes as Ar-Ta-Bon.

It had become clear that changing shape deliberately was something Art-Ta-Bon could still not do. He would involuntarily change when he sensed danger or was especially hungry. Once again, there seemed no way to teach him.

"Ar-Ta-Bon was very interested in the female that was raised. She was named Trea, to emphasize she was not Shusheen. We did not teach her Shusheen values. Ar-Ta-Bon and Trea mated and produced several offspring. Trea was able to bring their offspring to term with no problems. Physically they were indistinguishable from unaltered Neanderthals, however I developed a method of detecting them from a distance and could keep watch on them.

"There was much discussion among the Shusheen about the implications of this new species of human. One group was very interested in producing a more Shusheen-like shape changer species. It was argued whether actual Shusheen DNA should be introduced. One group thought it made more sense just to give birth to more Shusheen, since they would have the most capabilities of all. That was not the purpose of our experiment however. Eventually it was agreed we would try implanting Shusheen DNA in the organelle, replacing the vin DNA that was used in Art-Ta-Bon and Trea.

"Since vin DNA was not being used, there were discussions about whether we would use one of the other two races of humans, one that wasn't associated with vin, in the hope of having genetic isolation. Eventually we decided to do that. I believe you call these Denisovians. We relocated to an area where they were common. I temporarily captured several individuals of that race and we began our experiment.

"I decided to use my own DNA in the new species. I used an organelle from my own body and implanted my DNA in the organelle. We made a few other modifications to them that we hoped would be of benefit to them. Some of these were major changes. Then I fertilized an egg and brought the baby to term. This was much easier that it had been with Ar-Ta-Bon's species. No modifications of conditions were necessary to bring the baby to term. We immediately began producing additional individuals.

"All these experiments proceeded over decades. The first member of the new race was born approximately one hundred years after the birth of Ar-Ta-Bon. We named the first, a female, Atrea. Others soon followed. The males of this new species were extremely aggressive. The three males fought each other constantly, even when quite young and they killed each other before they reached puberty. The females, on the other hand, were everything we had hoped. They had full shape changing capabilities and they found violence and death as intolerable as do Shusheen. They were however, extremely passive. Their reaction to almost everything was to hide, changing shape into something in their environment. Once we observed two females arguing. They suddenly both changed into types of vegetation. That ended the argument.

"The females were hermaphrodites who also produced sperm, so they were capable of mating with each other. That was one of the major changes I mentioned. However, we never observed females mating with each other.

"We decided not to produce any more males. Since there were no males of this new race, and females were not inclined to mate with each other, Atrea was artificially inseminated, with her permission by a member of the Denosovians she was derived from. Her offspring possessed a mixture of characteristics. Most importantly, the hybrid males were not aggressive and were in fact a marked improvement over unaltered Denisovian males. Rather than being extremely aggressive, they formed close social bonds with each other. Atrea's female offspring had full shape changing capabilities. The males capabilities were more limited. They could deliberately change shape, but it took a great deal of effort. Also, the first form they changed into was the only form that they could change into for the remainder of their lives. One peculiarity of all members of Atrea's race was that despite their social bonds with each other, they avoided contact with all other races.

I heard a voice shouting "Ben! Ben! Ben!"

Ar-Tan-Bey smiled at me with a human face and said "Your mate is worried about you. We can continue this discussion at any time. Tell him there is no reason to be alarmed. I hope you realize now that I'm not a hallucination."

"Wait! Why did you ask me to give Mike a chance if we have a mating bond?"

"Because you and Mike are not the same species and I wasn't sure how you would react to him. I tried to manipulate your mating bond to respond to his, but I wasn't sure I succeeded. I'm pleased that you two seem happy together. I spent a great deal of time picking him out for you. We will have to save further explanations for later."

"Don't go! I have one more question. You made me, too?"

"Yes."

"Do you know what made my butt spasm when we had sex? Do I need to worry about it? I can't really ask a doctor!"

"No. It's a new part of your reproductive system. It allows you to have orgasms anally without any stimulation of your penis. Mike's semen is triggering alterations in your body. That is part of the plan. Don't worry you will love it." Alterations! What did she do to me? Don't worry?

She disappeared and I was facing a very worried looking Mike.